Set 35 years after Aliens (which is quite a neat touch, given that this issue celebrates the movie’s 35th anniversary), Aliens: Aftermath sees a group of humans making their way to LV-426 to discover the truth about what happened there, given that all-powerful corporation Weyland-Yutani have covered up the details of what happened back in 2179.
As a one-shot, anniversary tale, Aliens: Aftermath really falls short, with some very familiar ground being covered for what feels like the hundredth time – and appearing to contradict or at least ignore elements of the canon novel River of Pain, when it would have made sense to utilise the still-dangling threads left hanging at the end of that novel. Given that a few of the characters we’re introduced to in Aftermath have links to characters in Aliens and at least one familiar, slimy corporate executive is mentioned here too, it should have been a no-brainer to pick up on the less well-known groundwork that’s already been laid, rather than go over stuff everyone and their runner xenomorph is already familiar with.
Still, there’s a few intriguing new elements here, though they could have done with being fleshed out or explained – such as the bio-luminescent xenomorph (presumably the result of the nuclear fallout from the climax of Aliens – but why is there only one?). The issue seems to be setting up a new storyline entirely for Marvel’s still burgeoning Alien line, but that leaves it feeling deeply, unsatisfactorily open-ended in what should be a one and done tale.
Though it doesn’t bring much new to the table – aside from one revelation about the Hadley’s Hope colony on LV-426 and the aforementioned glowing Alien (which is seriously cool) – the art is pretty good throughout, though there’s the odd panel that feels rushed. Ut does also feel very grey and dark, though with the setting being post-nuclear Hadley’s Hope, that can be understood and forgiven.
Not the best anniversary gift for one of the most beloved movies ever made then, unfortunately. It does move some pieces into place that should set up the future of the comics, but it’s a shame that there wasn’t enough of a story here to be fleshed out and allow the comic to stand on its own terms.
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