Dark Horse’s saga continues where it left off in Predator: Life and Death #4. There is a new threat to the Colonial Marines, and anyone that has seen the film Prometheus will instantly recognize the humanoid on the cover as the main antagonist of the movie. Although the timeline is different, the premise surrounding the beings is similar.
Taking place forty-three years after the events in the motion picture Aliens, Prometheus: Life and Death is part 1 of 4 in this arc. Captain Paget has escaped the planet with the hunters and is now safely aboard a Weyland-Yutani vessel, unable to communicate with members of the Colonial Marines. The reason being they have taken control of a mysterious spacecraft. As they search the ship for a way to contact the Weyland-Yutani vessel, a humanoid comes out from a sarcophagus in the control room and starts slaughtering the marines. The remaining Colonial Marines have to find a way to survive while at the mercy of this murderous creature, whose intentions are still unknown.
As we saw in the previous series, Dan Abnett’s militaristic style of speech is quick and to the point when characters are addressing each other. We have very little insight to Captain Paget’s character, and very little development of the other members of the team. When a member of the team is killed, it seems more to build the tension of the moment rather than have the reader feel for the loss of a comrade. We don’t even get to see any emotion from the surviving Colonial Marines. They are more concerned with killing the creature than revenge or any retribution for the loss of their ally. In that sense, their reactions just seem a little too unrealistic.
Some of the dialogue also attempt to follow the Prometheus storyline, but it doesn’t really work and jumps to conclusions. One of the Colonial Marines makes an assumption about the antagonist that is not based on anything else found within the comic. We are just expected to take his statement as fact.
Andrea Mutti’s art style does more than make up for the lazy style of issues past with Brian Albert Theis. He manages to blend the dark mood of the comic with scant light sources and selective shadowing. He also pays attention to the details regarding the mechanics of the ship as well as the clothing and facial features of the Colonial Marines. In this way, the title pays homage to Prometheus giving it a brighter environment while at the same time carrying with it an underlying darker feel. The reader will also note as the plot progresses, there is a noticeable shift in shadows as the sources of light become dimmer and the horror that is bent on killing the remaining marines gets enveloped in darkness. There are a few panels where it seems shortcuts were taken with the art style, but nothing too big that would override the intricacies that Mutti puts into the technology of the spacecraft as well as the characters.
Rain Beredo coloring follows a similar style he used in the previous series. However, with a new artist comes a different way of presenting things, and Beredo’s style changes somewhat with the introduction of Mutti to the mix. Mutti isn’t reliant on heavy shadows to cover up the detail of his work so there is more color on the page than black and white for a majority of the panels. In areas where there is heavy shadows, Beredo manages to splash hints of color bouncing off of a surface to contrast the dark mood of the situation, perhaps as a visual presentation of what little hope the marines have against such a menace.
Dave Palumbo’s primary cover art, leads you to believe that there is a sort of cooperation with the humanoid. The marines are standing by the creature, as if the creature is leading them and they are in agreement in some way. However, the lines “Trapped with an Angry God,” contradict the cover art just as much as the content of the comic. The variant cover art by Dave Dorman seems to better serve the content of the comic while being brilliantly detailed at the same time.
Dan Abnett does much to give service to an already established universe in Aliens and Predator, however he does little to develop the characters to make this comic stand on its own. If no one was familiar with the movie titles, Prometheus: Life and Death #1 would be a confusing read, and the reader wouldn’t be compelled to pick up another issue. Andrea Mutti does more to pay homage to the movie titles in his art style and does much to redeem the work compared to previous titles in the Life and Death series. The biggest problem is while the characters are well drawn, there is hardly any characterization. And without characterization the characters serve as little more than just random piles of meat for the antagonist to slice up. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned, but I want more than just the story about how some steaks stumbled upon a meat slicer.
- Detailed Artwork
- Carries themes of already established universes
- Mimics the style of the movie of the same title
- Little/no character development
- Character reactions unrealistic
- Statements by characters unfounded