Friday, May 20, 2016

Review - Prometheus: Life and Death #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


"Ganymeade Station must go to high alert/lockdown."

At some point when exploring space you've just got to know when to say when. That lesson doesn't seem to hit home for Colonial Marines as their thirst for adventure and exploration continues to outweigh the accompanying threats. Another threat is exposed in Prometheus: Life and Death #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Dan Abnett, illustrated by Andrea Mutti, colored by Rain Beredo and lettered by Michael Heisler.

Colonial Marines have commandeered a mysterious alien ship—wresting it from the savage Predators who also wanted it. But now the owner of the vessel has awakened, and the Marines find themselves trapped in space with an angry god!

There seems to be a never-ending conflict between Xenomorphs and Predators with humans always caught in the middle and Abnett doesn't stray too far from that script in Prometheus: Life and Death #1. His approach starts off with the formula that many of the other works in the mythology rely on in that wayfaring humans stumble upon something they shouldn't and then lose it when that discovery turns out to want to kill them. As the issue progresses, Abnett ratchets up the tension appropriately in a way that slowly builds up to the ending of the issue. The dialogue feels sufficiently militaristic and befitting of the general military atmosphere pervasive throughout the Alien universe. And the pacing is very methodical, with Abnett working through the events very surgically to get things in place for the remainder of the series.

The artwork by Mutti is gritty and helps underscore the terror that comes with being in space. His characters are illustrated somewhat loosely without much attention to detail and facial expressions. Most of the panels focus instead on the ship the Marines are exploring and it's depicted as something organic--it fits well within the narrative of an android stalking them. Most of the panels are pretty standard, but Mutti does offer a few insets and overlays to break things up visually from here to there. Most of the issue is awash in grays as well, courtesy of Beredo's approach that emphasizes the sheer bleakness of the situation that the Marines find themselves in.

Prometheus: Life and Death #1 keeps with all the characteristics that makes an entry in the Alien mythos work within that mythos. The Marines are clearly in over their heads yet again and are forced to contend with a seemingly constant change in conditions that makes survival difficult. Abnett has a clear grasp of that universe and what it entails, pitting the characters against an opponent who is unflinching in his resolve to pursue anyone he views as a threat. The artwork by Mutti is pretty basic but gets the job done, showcasing the "god" as an entity capable of inflicting pain as such. Prometheus: Life and Death #1 isn't exactly anything new for fans of the property, but it does offer a new way to watch Colonial Marines lose their collective cool.

Prometheus: Life and Death #1 is in stores June 8.

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