Aliens is one of my all-time favorite movies. A perfect mix of action, sci-fi and horror, which I would argue hasn't been replicated. Then there's Alien 3, and everything that came after it. I don't like to talk about that. But, in 1988 after Aliens came and four years before the next movie would come out, this comic series ran which gave me the followup story I wanted.
The series has been published as Aliens: Book One, Aliens: Outbreak, and in novel form as Aliens: Earth Hive (a lot to keep track of), but since these publications were made after Alien 3 came out, names were changed to avoid confusion from the films continuation of the story. So Wilcks = Hicks and Billie = Newt. Thankfully this comic doesn't do that. This printing features the comic as it was intended to be read with the characters we're familiar with.
The story picks up a few years after the film ended. An adult Newt and aged Hicks are struggling to deal with the horrors they witnessed, and Ripley is ominously missing. The black-and-white comics really capture the gritty world that the movies take place in, expanding on it in the best way. Although the comic ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, the story is continued in Aliens: Nightmare Asylum, but you will have to deal with the name change of the main characters.
The book itself is beautiful. And black. Very black. It feels like something that was designed by H.R. Giger himself. Why I'm most excited about this rerun of the series is because it gives me some hope at seeing a movie that truly succeeds Aliens. There's been a lot of back and forth, but Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Ripley herself, has been in talks with Neill Blomkamp (director ofDistrict 9), and the two are championing a new Alien movie. One which might retcon everything that happened in the later movies. This would mean that the cinematic world might very well line up with these comics. It's a stretch, and might never happen, but I like to dream. Aliens fans will definitely appreciate this one.
Aliens 30th Anniversary: The Original Comic Series
by Mark Verheiden (author) and Mark A. Nelson (illustrator)
Dark Horse Books
2016, 184 pages, 8.3 x 12.4 x 1 inches (hardback)