In the midst of the aftershock of 2012’s Prometheus and on the verge of Ridley Scott’s Alien: Covenant, the hunger for Xenomorph nirvana is more rampant than ever. Fortunately, Dark Horse’s Prometheus: Life and Death seeks to alleviate the pangs that plague many of us as we dream of more of Giger’s spindly creations. Written by Dan Abnett, Life and Death follows 2014’s Fire and Stone, in which a doomed crew combs LV-223 in search of the doomed titular ship. Now, the crew of the Hasdrubal seeks to recover a supposedly abandoned engineer vessel while evading another familiar trio of unworldly hunters.
Largely following Paget, a captain not terribly off from Ripley, Life and Death’s first issue seems to harken back to some of the more traditional themes of Alien series, perhaps even more so than Prometheus itself. After a group of colonial marines request much-needed assistance in moving an Engineer vessel, it only takes a few moments for the squadron to accidentally awaken one of the human progenitors from cryo-sleep. After a very brief and failed attempt at reasoning with the celestial Übermacht, the squadron finds themselves trapped on the being’s ship as the Hasdrubal struggles to keep them from following the fate of the Prometheus’ crew.
Drawn by Andrea Mutti, smooth lines couple with the vintage Alien grit, especially in regard to the interior of the Engineer’s vessel, effectively blends the aesthetic of Prometheus and the films of Scott and James Cameron. However, the Engineer presented in this installment feels exceptionally malicious, the god-status swiftly countered by the undisclosed liquid that covers the figure, as well as his general penchant to crush skulls. This serves as both a boon and a bane, as the violence and mechanical brutality heightens the terror, but frankly eliminates the sense of wonder surrounding the beings.
Life and Death seems to work towards significantly higher movement and action than Fire and Stone. Whereas the former seemed to propose a few more existential questions, it can prove difficult to see Life and Death heading in the same direction. This may prove ultimately beneficial, but it can make both sagas seem a bit rigid in retrospect. Still, if the early frames of this installment are any indication, the high tension seems to be something we will not be shorted on.
With an additional three segments, and most likely a larger final episode if it follows in step with its predecessor, Life and Death’s underwhelming first quarter has more than enough means to put forth something monstrous. Maybe a few Predators will help.
WICKED RATING: 5/10