Comic book fans and “Aliens” movie buffs can rejoice! After the last pressing weeks of the spring semester are finished (or sooner if you have the time), Dark Horse and Fox Movies have a bit of light summer reading for you: the “Aliens Omnibus Volume 3.”
And for those of you who are not a part of the fandom, Dark Horse comics is the publication best known as the independent third option behind big hitters like DC and Marvel. With that in mind, you can expect a certain degree of quality.
For those of you who just aren’t that big on movies in general, the “Aliens” movies are an older Sci-Fi franchise that is still relevant today. Most recently, you can view the titular “Aliens” facing off against another Sci-Fi movie alumni the “Predator” in those TERRIBLE “Alien vs. Predator” movies.
Lucky for us, the “Aliens Omnibus” stands apart in both quality and intent than those movies. Not surprising, as the graphic novel in question is made for a niche audience expecting something that doesn’t suck, while the “AvP” movies are made just to cash in on bored Sci-Fi and action movie fans.
Volume 3 is a collection of stories that takes place in the Alien’s extended universe (which means the story doesn’t follow the main characters or story line from the movie, but it still fleshes out the same universe in which the “Aliens” movies take place.) What you’re getting is nearly 400 full color pages of well-written, beautifully drawn content. There really isn’t too much to think about if you like comic books and science fiction-and have $25 to spare. But on the fair chance that you’re only a casual reader of graphic novels, let’s elaborate.
The “Aliens Omnibus” could have just weaseled by with generic stories of alien killing, space-ship riding malarkey. However, you’d be surprised at just how well Volume 3 explores more than just your standard Sci-Fi plot points. It takes a look at the entire human condition. It explores the worst in human beings-their capacity for evil, their inherent greed and desire for power over all things. Obviously, the terrifying Aliens are at the center of it all.
At the same time, it shows what you’d hope for from your fellow man in desperate, Alien infested times of need-heroism, self-sacrifice, the lessons that love, life and loss bring to even fictional perspectives. The best part of the “Aliens Omnibus” is that you get all these characteristics, both good and bad, not just from the “evil corporation” or the “plucky protagonist”-you get this showcase of humanity and emotion from all major players concerned.
Genuine character development in a comic book-it happens more often than you think. If we could only get such dedication and commitment to the intricacies of human nature from all forms of media we’d have a boatload of more compelling stories to hear.
But it’s not just the content that shines in Volume 3, we must also pay homage to the aesthetics.
Different artists lend their skills to the different pieces inside the “Aliens Omnibus” (including the highly acclaimed Mike Mignola.) The result is different kinds of art that are appealing in a variety of different ways-it runs the gamut from obviously exaggerated, to classic comic, to down-right “that’s beautiful” realism.
And in the end, good art, with competent character writing, and story structure is all you need to make a comic (graphic novel if you prefer) awesome. The fact of the matter is, I’m not even a big fan of the “Aliens” franchise, and I’m a casual reader of comics at best. But the “Aliens Omnibus” is an entertaining way to spend some time on your couch regardless of your typical interests.