Dark Horse Comics have been producing Aliens comics for a long, long time. Aliens: Earth War was produced back in 1990 in the time between the movies, Aliens (1986) and Alie (1992). It takes a divergent path from where Alie takes the characters. In that movie, Ripley survives as her ship crashes on a penal colony and Newt is dead, she’d been infected (somehow and unknown to anyone).
Aliens: Earth War gives the reader an insight into the events immediately following the Aliens movie and what transpired aboard the Sulaco. As it’s explained Ripley is coerced into helping another military team go down to the planet, LV-426 and capture specimens. The mission is a failure but Ripley and two other marines make it out alive and proceed to go into hiding for the next fifteen years.
The rest of the story is told in real-time as Ripley sets the newly assembled team, including Hicks (from Aliens) and her other military cohorts on a course to destroy the alien brood.
Her plan involves going to the alien homeworld, which she knows of due to a mysterious event in the past. The idea is to go to the homeworld, capture the supreme alien which is presented to be the archetype of the race. A “super queen” who has the ability to mentally call to and control all her progeny. Spoiler alert: when you finally see the beast in the third issue she is less than “super”. She’s smaller in stature and ornamental head size than the queen in the second movie. It was definitely a failure to live up to expectations.
Overall the story title is a misnomer, as it has little to do with Earth. Interestingly enough, when the discussion of saving Earth comes up it is made incredibly apparent that Ripley has no desire to save the planet, just to destroy the alien inhabitants. So it’s less a war for Earth (and not even a war ON Earth, since little of the story even takes place on Earth) than a war against Earth.
For 1990 the art is what you’d expect it to be, somewhat rudimentary and on matte paper giving it even less luster. The characters lack any real originality. The military members of the new team so closely resemble those of the Aliens movie that there is a strong, female, latina in the ranks.
I have been a fan of the Aliens films, books, and comics over the years but this mini-series failed to live up to even modest expectations. I recommend reading the Steve Perry literary novel series Aliens.
Aliens: Earth War gets a C- grade from this reviewer. It was a trite and rather boring expansion on the movie with little imagination for where these characters could go.
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Till next Wednesday…
Radiohead – Everything in Its Right Place, Saves the Day – Freakish, Nada Surf – Blonde on Blonde, Motion City Soundtrack – A-OK, Saves the Day – As Your Soul Takes Flight, Jimmy Eat World – Pain, The Killers – Smile Like You Mean It, Spitalfield – Simple Minds, Simple Lives, The Stills – Fevered, Kenna – Hell Bent, The Format – A Mess to be Made, David Gray – Please Forgive Me, Metric – Sick Muse, Rise Against – Whereabouts Unknown