Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Review - Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1

"Please don't be difficult. As much as I'd like to hurt you, I need you alive."

If Predator has taught us anything, it's that if it bleeds you can kill it. The difficult part is getting close enough to one of the hunters in order to even injure them. The Xenomorphs have a way about them that makes them more than capable of dealing such blows, but humans tend to get in the way. Dark Horse throws all three into the mix in Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1. The issue is written by Christopher Sebela, illustrated by Ariel Olivetti and lettered by Nate Piekos.

Dozens of light years from Earth in the outer rings of the Zeta 2 Reticuli System, the fractured Geryon Armada (featuring Perses) limps away from the horrific events on the mysterious LV-223--resting place of the ruined Prometheus. And home to a vicious Xenomorph horde. Meanwhile, in a neighboring star system, a brutal race of alien hunters participates in an ancient and primal tradition--bu their endless search for new and deadlier prey could result in chaos beyond measure.

Galgo and Francis are the two central characters in Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1, with the latter the object of many affections so to speak. Sebela relies on that dynamic to carry the issue, using both characters as effective catalysts for the events to unfold very cleanly. And Sebela's pacing is spot on, with the slower parts of the stories effectively getting the plot across, while the faster paced points get frenetic in a hurry. Blending the worlds of Alien and Predator together is something that makes a lot of sense and Sebela brings it all together pretty solidly, with the Predators biding their time amidst the chaos. It's a smart plot device that really gets the action simmering.

Olivetti gives Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 a painted feel to it. This gives the proceedings a rather simple look that still manages to pack a lot of emotion into the characters and their reactions. The perverted android Elden looks pretty sinister, Galgo and Francis play their parts and the Predators look appropriately calculating. Olivetti relies on a slew of panel arrangements and insets that keeps with the crazy pace of the action, but at times it does feel a little overwhelming. There's also an interesting contrast between empty gutters and using the page to fill them in, which keeps the issue looking fresh.

Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 has everything you'd want from a book blending together the two franchises. While the Predators don't exactly get top-billing, that's because their nature is to hide in the shadows until it's time to strike. Sebela's script features a steady plot that draws upon familiarities with the universe and is positioning the characters for some tough decisions. Artistically, Olivetti uses a somewhat non-traditional style that feels very fitting for the content of the book. Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 has got something that fans of both franchises will like and is another strong entry in the Fire and Stone saga.

Alien Vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #1 is in stores October 8 with interiors below.


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