The Origins of Alien vs Predator
With the new AVP game coming out in February, Dark Horse Comics deserves much of the credit for having the idea in the first place. They also deserve credit for creating a successful launch on their Aliens comic series in 1988, two years after the movie was in theaters. In the last 22 years, Dark Horse has been the sole proprietor of quality Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator stories. I give Aliens 3 a nod as being ‘not bad’, but after that…I gave up on both franchises.
Dark Horse first published a 6-issue Aliens series featuring Mark A. Nelson and Mark Verheiden. The black and white panels were perfect at capturing the dark future of horror in space. Mark Verheiden crafted a tale of an alien specimen drifting in space that was brought to Earth for study. The alien itself communicated empathically which soon caused religious groups to seek the xenomorph as way to be reborn in its image. It is also here that Hicks and Newt are reintroduced into the series and find one each other before the alien infestation begins.
Book 2 of the series follows Hicks and Newt through space leaving behind their now desolate home. Dennis Beauvais, the artist, used an airbrush to paint which show that the most beautiful art for this property, goes beyond the cover. Hicks, Newt, and half of her love interest from the previous series all escape Earth on a shuttle that has a preset destination. On their way, they find a crazed colonel who seeks to train the aliens as warriors. Part of this was story was taken and used poorly in Alien Resurrection.
The third chapter of this book flops in both story and art. It marks the first of a long line of choices made by Dark Horse where they take a talented artist and match his style with the wrong project. Sam Kieth’s style just doesn’t fit with the final chapter of this story arc and the story itself gives you the impression that nobody expected this to do well.
My advice to you is this…read the first two volumes and forget book three.
Chris Warner, the first person to ever utter the words Aliens vs Predator, put these two extraterrestrial heavies together in 1989 for a throw down in the pages of the anthology comic, Dark Horse Presents. Randy Stradley wrote the first story, which had predators holding an alien queen captive and using her to dot the landscape with eggs for the upcoming hunt. Phillip Norwood illustrated the story which feature young predator hunters abandoning their honor code and an elder predator with a broken tusk teaming up with human female bad-ass (Machiko Noguchi) in order to survive the alien onslaught.
Alien vs Predator: Eternal is a great book featuring Glenn Fabry illustrating the covers and Alex Maleev handling the interior art. I think that both artists were equally talented at bringing the dark mood of sci-fi horror to the page. Writing the story for AvP Eternal was left to Ian Edginton who made it one of a ‘snake-oil salesman’ that has encountered a downed Predator ship and has discovered some cool predator tech. In addition to the tech, he also discovers two organic lifeforms inside, both aliens. The predator hunters return to Earth, in search of the lost ship, only to find the ‘snake-oil salesman’ while two xenomorph drones lay in the shadows.
In my opinion, the only Alien vs Predator stories worth a damn are within the comics, meaning that the original story and Eternal should be the only two you’ll ever need.
- February Must Reads
- Aliens Book 1: Outbreak
- Aliens Book 2: Nightmare Asylum
- AvP Original Trade Paperback
- AvP Eternal