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Queen for A Day: 426 Alien Celebration

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NECA’s 15″ Aliens Ressurrection Red Queen Mother is ready for her close-up.

30 Years of Xeno Fears…
2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the 20th Century Fox space shocker Alien. It’s hard to describe what it was like seeing that film in a theater for the first time, no preconceptions, no spoilers, no a clue as to what was ahead. I’m still trying to retrieve bits of the skin that I jumped out of. The spectacular H. R. Giger bio-mechanical designs for the facehugger, chestburster and the original xenomorph were all brand new to the horror genre, like the first time the Frankenstein monster stepped into view in 1931.
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Mama I’m Comin’ Home: NECA’s Ripley and Alien Queen

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Alien Queen faces off against Ellen Ripley for a mother of a fight.


Ripley, Believe It Or Not…
According to recent news Fox’s Alien franchise is poised to gear up again. This fifth installment will feature first Alien protagonist Ellen Louise Ripley as the lead character and apparently ignore the plot lines of Alien 3 and Alien: Resurrection. It’s a maneuver by director/writer Neill Blomkamp (Chappie, District 9) that will surely cause controversy in the fan communities for its wholesale revisionism. I personally hope it will finally give the Ripley character a definitive and satisfying third act. Most importantly, actress Sigourney Weaver has just verified taking the lead again. It’s a role that has proven to define the female action hero for several decades and it’s good to know it will be in the hands of its original creator.
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NECA’s P-5000 Power Loader becomes battle gear for Ripley action figure.


In tandem with this exciting news comes NECA’s announced Alien Series 4 action figures. This wave includes Nostromo Captain Dallas (Tom Skerrit) and none other than Ripley herself, based on Weaver’s likeness for the first time. It’s something collectors have been clamoring for and worth the wait as the figure debuts in two different versions. One Ripley dons the distinctive Nostromo spacesuit – what I call the “samurai goalie” look – the other is garbed in her jumpsuit, armed with flame thrower. Spacesuit helmets can be removed, but beware those of ornery face huggers. There are even two versions of Jonesy the Cat, one calm and the other with his hackles up.
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Fan favorite Ellen Ripley ready for action with flamethrower in hand.


NECA (National Entertainment Collectibles Association) never fails to amaze with their New York Toy Fair sales booth displays. This year the highlight was a huge diorama with Ripley in the P-5000 Power Loader that NECA prevued last year. She’s prepared to battle the monstrous xenomorph Queen Mother. Half of the android Bishop (Lance Henriksen) watches helplessly in the midst of a hatchling swarm of scurrying face huggers.
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NECA’s Massive Alien Queen closes in for the attack.


The queen is quite a showpiece. NECA has captured the sleek, angular, and wiry essence of the creature with its regal crest and slavering jaws. The deluxe figure has 30 points of articulation, stands over 15 inches tall and 30 inches long to the tip of its highly posable tail. A stand and two sets of inner jaws are included.

Tall Cool One…
NECA also displayed a prototype of their 1979 Alien. It’s a quarter scale replica of the suit worn by 6′ 10″ Balaji Badejo for his sinuous and balletic performance. Born out of the late H. R. Giger’s nightmarish artwork, this lone creature was plenty enough of a scare on his own in the original film. Even in its unpainted state it’s clear NECA has a fine representation in the works. It’s scheduled for a June release.

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NECA’s unpainted prototype for a 1/4 scale 1979 Alien.


SkeletonPete Says…
I was fortunate to have viewed the original Alien in its first theater run, probably its first week. In 1979 there was no chance of internet spoilers, no speculation from decades old fan bases, just a pure experience that was quite a fright ride. Second and third viewings were equal fun, especially watching the popcorn fly in the midst of unsuspecting first timers. I only knocked the edges off the experience once I could run it on VHS at will. It is that kind of audience familiarity and the since proffered Prometheus backstory and Predator interpolations that Neill Blomkamp will have to overcome in his quest to make his new installment of a piece with the first two and offer that kind of impact.
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Fire and (Cap)Stone: Dark Horse’s “Prometheus” Finale

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Dark Horse’s Fire and Stone Finale


Final Countdown…
Dark Horse Comics completes it’s six month Prometheus series with the Fire and Stone “Omega” issue. The stand alone book ties up the multi-title storyline of Alien xenomorphs, Predators, cosmic Engineers, android “synthetics” and stranded Weyland-Yutani astronauts. All get their fair share of “screen time” in this 44 page finale written by Kelly Sue DeConnick. There’s plenty of action and a little philosophy on the “human” condition, which are the polar nodes of director Ridley Scott’s original shock-ride Alien (1976) versus his search for the meaning of our existence, Prometheus (2012). Kudos to Ms. DeConnick for an ending that, while event filled, avoids being a one dimensional “monster rally.” Characters’ thought provoking actions feel correct within the confines of the Prometheus universe, and maybe closer to what Scott had in mind, but didn’t offer us, in the film.

Augustin Alessio’s detailed and atmospheric art compliments the story with a balance of frenetic action and portrait panel exposition. His use of blurring to separate characters from backgrounds and accentuate action scenes adds a cinematic component to his pages. It’s an interesting and successful technique found in several panels.
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Giger Counter…
Appropriately, the bio accelerant driven mutations that proliferate the Dark Horse Prometheus books channel H.R. Giger’s seminal visions as touchstones. Alessio does a particularly nice homage (think ELP’s Brain Salad Surgery) to the late Swiss artist in the latter pages of this final issue.

SkeletonPete Says…
Ridley Scott’s next foray into the plot line,Prometheus 2, is not due until 2016. For most franchise fans films take too long to make and endless script rewrites and rethinks tend to foster missteps that muddle the final product. Whatever your feelings about the cinematic progression of these intertwined universes, Dark Horse’s licensed graphic novels series (like this and the Buffy and Angel books) offer fans a fun expanded interaction with their favorite characters.

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There’s no lack of action in this final “Prometheus Fire and Stone” tale.

Terror Forming: Dark Horse Comics “Prometheus” #1 Sells Out

Dark Horse Comic's "Fire and Stone" books will present a massive Alien and Predator universe excursion.

Dark Horse Comic’s “Fire and Stone” books will present a massive Alien and Predator universe excursion.


Oops, You Blinked…
Congratulations to the Dark Horse Comics team whose inaugural issue of Fire and Stone: Prometheus sold out in the wink of an eye. It’s an exceptional start to a series that promises to eclipse even Dark Horse’s long running Stars Wars books. The F&S series represents a massive franchise culling, century hopping, set of tales which are bound to keep followers of the Alien and Predator mythos enthralled and fandom discussion boards thriving.

Four By Four Plus One…
They’ll be four issues in each Fire and Stone series, Prometheus, Aliens, Predator, and Aliens Vs. Predators (AVP,) with a final standalone story produced to pull the whole shebang together. I think it’s easy to predict the final works being offered in one nifty Dark Horse hard cover edition down the road.

(Xeno) More 4 U…
Be forewarned the first issue of Fire and Stone: Aliens, arriving on September 24th, is likely to disappear into space just as fast and no one will hear you scream. The first issue features xenomorphs up the wazoo in a tale hinted at in the first issue of F&S:Prometheus. The second printing of Prometheus #1 is expected on October 8, 2014, the same day that Aliens Vs Predators: Fire and Stone #1 drops.

Fire and Stone: Aliens #1 variant cover art by Fiona Staples.

Fire and Stone: Aliens #1 variant cover art by Fiona Staples.

Fiona Staples’ Website

E. M. Gist's cover for Fire and Stone: AVP #1

E. M. Gist’s cover for Fire and Stone: AVP #1

E. M. Gist’s Website

Deus Ex Machina: Dark Horse’s Prometheus Series Premieres

Prom1_Cvr
September 10th will see the release of Fire and Stone, issue #1 in Dark Horse Comics’ new Prometheus tie-in series. As you know the Ridley Scott film of 2012 presented a kinda-sorta prequel to the classic Alien franchise and garnered both kudos and bewildered shrugs from a fairly divided fandom audience.

Scott promises more to come on screen about the role of “the engineers” in our earthly genesis. In fact he just announced the completion of the screenplay for Prometheus 2: Paradise, as well as his long awaited Blade Runner sequel and a film called The Martian.

Artist Paul Pope's Cover Variant for Prometheus: Fire and Stone from Dark Horse Comics

Artist Paul Pope’s Cover Variant for Prometheus: Fire and Stone from Dark Horse Comics


Prometheus 2 is slated to appear sometime in 2016, a year later than originally announced. In the meantime, this 4 book series relates the mission of a deep space salvage team on LV-223 approximately 125 years after the events in the film. We’re introduced to the crew via character Clara Atkinson’s documentary film in progress. Paul Tobin’s script sets-up plenty of personal intrigue and – as you’ve already guessed – there is way more than a routine salvage job waiting.

The interior art by Juan Ferreyra is tight with lots of detail and he gets to add some creepy creatures to the Alien pantheon, as the crew investigates the evolving flora and fauna of LV-223.

Juan Ferrerya's interior art gives a cinematic feel to the panels.

Juan Ferrerya’s interior art gives a cinematic feel to the panels.


SkeletonPete Says…
Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 is a sure thumbs up from me, and a total score for fans of the Alien mythos. I personally like the prospects of this series better than the film it references. ‘nuff said.