Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven

by Liam Sharp

Sometimes I'm not sure what the decision-making process is like at some publishers.  Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven is a hardcover 'graphic novella' written and drawn by Liam Sharp that marked Dark Horse's return after a few years' absence, to the Aliens property.  It's a nicely bound edition, but it's only thirty-eight pages long, making it shorter than two regular-sized comics.  So why the hardcover and the $11 price tag?  I think this would have been better received in a prestige format, or bundled with some older Aliens reprint material.

Anyway, this is a decent comic.  By now, we all know the typical approach to an Aliens book:  a bunch of scientists or military types discover a place where an Alien has attacked humans.  They attempt to rescue them, and then slowly get picked off one at a time, and either wiped out completely, or only one of them (usually a female) survives.  The only thing that changes are the setting, the character's names, and the order in which they get killed off.

This story is set on Europa, where the Weyland-Yutani Corporation has constructed an orbiting space station tethered to the moon by a space elevator, which connects to a research station under the surface ice.  Scientists have discovered forms of life here, but have also had a bit of a problem with an Alien.  A group of scientists come down the elevator to help out, and the usual happens.

Sharp doesn't waste a lot of time on building the characters (there isn't much space for that), and instead lets them fall into familiar archetypes, with some decent dialogue providing a few more details.  Sharp is a great artist, and he makes good use of space and colour to heighten the tension in this story.  It's not a bad comic, but it's over before you know it.

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