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Welcome back superhero enthusiasts, 1990s culture enthusiasts and comic book collectors! Today we go back to the year 1990 to take a close look at one of the more significant non-superhero crossover comic book events ever published – Aliens vs. Predator!
In my previous review, most of the humans living and working in Prosperity Wells are unaware about the creeping danger coming at them. Alien eggs were laid in the wilderness while a ship carrying multiple Predator hunters has landed. At the human outpost, the leader Machiko Noguchi remains disrespected as the staffers and ranchers still trust her predecessor Hiroki Shimura.
With those details laid down, here is a look back at Aliens vs. Predator #2, published in 1990 by Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Randy Stradley and drawn by Phill Norwood.
The story begins with the huge spaceship still at the launch platform of Prosperity Wells. The ship should have launched already with a huge cargo of indigenous animals – the Rynth – for export. It turns out that the two human pilots were captured by the Xenomorphs and in the presence of the Alien queen inside the ship, they witness one rynth (part of the herd from the ranching) die as a Chestburster alien comes out of its body.
Meanwhile, Machiko wakes up as her respected predecessor Shimura arrives and tells her that Dr. Revna still has not returned. During her talk with the wife (also a doctor), Machiko learns that the missing doctor was on his way to Iwa Gorge to find more aliens (note: the Facehugger alien) and that a lady worker (who made the first discovery of a Facehugger) informed him of the place.
As Machiko and Shimura analyze what they know, two outpost personnel discover the remains of a destroyed Predator space ship and, more notably, one unconscious Predator hunter…
If you were deeply engaged in issue #1, then you will have a lot to be engaged with in this issue. The script by Stradley is very solid and with a medium pace, details were consistently laid out for readers’ understanding while the build-up for the inevitable chaos – between Xenomorphs and Predators with humans in the middle literally – is strongly felt.
Machiko Noguchi’s management and ability to analyze situations really get tested in this story and along the way, you will see how much the outpost changes reflecting the moves made by her administration which is ultimately a response to a brewing crisis. At this stage of the comic book mini-series, the danger of the two galactic species begin to make impact on innocent humans in violent ways. The scene showing the home of people (located some distance away from the main complex of the outpost) getting invaded by the Predators has uncompromising violence which makes the incidental action look really disturbing.
More on the human characters, this comic book has very rich dialogue backed with special attention to details implemented by Stradley. This is very evident in the scene in which Machiko, Roth, Ackland and Shimura talk intensely about what happened and what factors caused those things to happen. Through the verbal exchange, you will witness Machiko’s bravery and leadership come to life as she confronts a rebellious rancher (who insulted her in a very personal way) over the truth about what happened. Not only that, you will also feel the stress she experiences as she manages the outpost at a time of crisis.
For the fans of Predators and Aliens reading this, you will see a lot more of them in this issue and I can assure you that Norwood is really great in visualizing them and showing them with violent action that will remind you of the movies. As with the previous issue, the colors implemented on the Predators remains very odd to look at.
Aliens vs. Predator #2 (1990) is a great follow-up to issue #1. As expected, the stakes were raised higher and the tension really intensified as the narrative went on. The creative team really should be admired for not only crafting this high-quality chapter of the mini-series, but also for their believable and engaging build-up of the plot, the characters and conflict altogether. This comic book is a lively reminder of how great a non-superhero comic book crossover could be.
Overall, Aliens vs. Predator #2 (1990) is highly recommended!
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