It’s a strange time to be doing a column called We Want Comics: the Diamond shutdown means readers are hungry for new comics in general, nevermind licensed ones. Likewise, it seems odd to suggest Dark Horse Comics should publish more Aliens books, given it’s probably one of the most prolific comics lines of all time, but, after rewatching Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus recently, it turns out there’s still a lot more to be explored in 20th Century Studios’ dark universe.
Vincent Ward’s Alien 3:
It seems like Dark Horse can’t get enough of ignoring Alien 3: initially, they tried to acknowledge the film’s decision to unceremoniously kill off Hicks and Newt by renaming the characters in reprints of their initial series, but recent releases have restored the original names, and then the publisher released an adaptation of William Gibson’s draft of the script. New Zealand filmmaker Vincent Ward’s version of the film, which was the last before David Fincher took over, is also worthy of its own adaptation: instead of a hellish prison planet, it saw Ripley landing on a wooden clad space station inhabited by Luddite monks.
That barmy vision is simply the stuff that comics are made of.
And speaking of projects that ignore Alien 3, director Neill Blomkamp (District 9, Chappie) was attached to direct a new Alien film in 2017, one that would’ve seen Sigourney Weaver and Michael Biehn return as Ripley and Hicks, as well as an older version of Newt.
Plot details remain sketchy (producer Ridley Scott said there was never even a script), but the idea of an older Ripley, Hicks and Newt being haunted by the past, especially with the improved art, inking and coloring found in current comics, remains worth exploring.
Ripley’s canonical fate remains becoming the half-alien clone Ripley 8 in Alien: Resurrection, and since the film’s 1997 release that version has only appeared in the novel Aliens: Original Sin, as well as the (definitely non-canon) crossover series “Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator.”
Resurrection may have been a poor film, but that’s all the more reason to give Ripley 8, Johner, Vriess and Call another chance. The film’s Special Edition has a different ending, where Ripley and Call arrive in the post-apocalyptic wasteland of Paris, indicating the Earth of the 2300s is very different from the one the original Ripley knew: essentially, the follow-up book could be Alien Meets Mad Max.
Now onto the most recent iteration of the films: Ridley Scott’s prequel series, which began with 2012’s Prometheus, and continued in 2017 with Alien: Covenant. When we last saw Michael Fassbender’s deranged android David, he had stowed away on the titular colony ship with two facehugger embryos, ready to resume his evil attempts at creating new life.
Between Covenant‘s disappointing box office, and Sir Scott’s advancing years, it may be best to see his ideas for the conclusion of David’s story — and how Weyland-Yutani discovered the Engineers’ bioweaponry — realized in print.
Tales of the Engineers:
The Engineers: the marble-like progenitors of the human race, and possibly the Alien too? While the prequels heavily imply David is the creator of the Alien, the description of the Engineer ship in the original film as being “fossilized,” and the mural in Prometheus, indicates his neomorphs in Covenant are literally a new version of something much older. While the Engineers and Aliens ought to remain mysterious, it’d be intriguing and high-brow to see a wordless comic depicting them offering themselves — as is their nature — to breed the parasitic monsters.
Similarly, it’d be horribly fascinating to see an Engineer unleashing the eggs on a native population, which is what Scott stated on Alien‘s audio commentary was what the derelict ship was designed to do (just as the ships in Prometheus planned to drop the black liquid on Earth) — one wonders how the eggs were meant to be airdropped without smashing, which is a question an imaginative creative team could easily answer. In contrast, depicting the final moments of the dead Engineers seen in Alien, Prometheus and Covenant, could prove poignant exercises in humanizing these inscrutable, fearsome beings.Continued below
Other Loose Ends:
Ripley’s daughter Amanda has appeared in several books since starring in Creative Assembly’s 2014 video game Alien: Isolation, arguably one of the most terrifying survival horror games ever made. We know she eventually settled down, taking the name McClaren, before her death a year prior to her mother’s recovery from stasis. The novel Alien: Sea of Sorrows also implies she had children, contradicting what’s said in the Aliens director’s cut, a knot a writer would have to untangle — there’s likely an upsetting story there.
Meanwhile, Gearbox Software’s Aliens: Colonial Marines is one of the most reviled video games in recent memory, but it does reveal Hicks didn’t die in Alien 3. Hopefully, enough time has passed to bury memory of the game’s low production values so that its story can be acknowledged and followed through on paper.
Truly, there are still a lot of nightmares out there in space for Dark Horse to explore. As always, be sure to tell us what you think in the comments — is there a spin-off you’d like to read? Or is there a crossover possibly even wilder than “Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator” that you’re stunned hasn’t happened yet? This is Chiu-Tabet, news maven of Multiversity Comics and last survivor of the We Want Comics crew, signing off.