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Inside Look: Aliens Vs Predator: Three World War #1

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Perennial Aliens Vs Predator scribe Randy Stradley takes you aboard the newest chapter in the ongoing monster saga with his commentary on Aliens Vs Predator: Three World War #1, released this week through Dark Horse.

In the beginning…

Let me start with some background on the Aliens Versus Predator franchise for those readers who may only be familiar with the two recent AVP films. According to a number of popular sites on the Internet, the “inspiration” for the pairing of Aliens and Predators stems from the appearance of an Alien skull as a trophy on board the Predator spaceship in the closing scenes of the motion picture Predator 2 (released November, 1990). Unfortunately, as with so many “facts” one encounters on the web, it simply isn’t true.

The true beginning of AVP came at a planning meeting at Dark Horse Comics in the summer of 1989. During a discussion of possible crossovers, editor Chris Warner said, “What about Aliens versus Predator?” At the time, Dark Horse was already publishing Aliens comics and Predator comics—both based on Twentieth Century Fox films—so the combination seemed like a natural. Within minutes, publisher Mike Richardson was on the phone to Fox Licensing, solidifying a deal. Work began almost immediately on scripts. I know, because I was the writer.

By January, 1990, the first official AVP story was in print (issue #36 of our anthology Dark Horse Presents), the climactic chapter of a three-part story that had begun two months earlier with an Aliens chapter, which was followed by a Predator chapter. This story led directly into Aliens Vs. Predator #1 (June, 1990). By the time Predator 2 was in theaters, Dark Horse already had four issues of the AVP comics on sale. So much for what you read on the Internet.

On the stands now…


This month sees the debut of the latest chapter of the AVP saga, Aliens Vs. Predator: Three World War #1. Once again, I have been tapped to write the story, so it seemed appropriate that I pick up (more or less) where I ended my last story for the franchise, fifteen years ago…

Page 1

Welcome to the future—the same gritty, hard working future we were first introduced to in the films Alien and Aliens. With the exemplary assistance of penciller Rick Leonardi, inker Mark Pennington, and colorist Wes Dzioba, our initial setting of a mining operation on an inhospitable world is quickly established.

The two grumbling workers let us know that centuries may pass, but we humans change but little. Our primary concerns still revolve around our own creature comforts. Still, why shouldn’t they complain? These poor guys are cogs in a vast corporate enterprise, stuck in the armpit of the galaxy working around giant machinery day in and day out. Things could hardly get worse, could they?

Page 2

Oh, wait—yeah they could.

The appearance of this spaceship is as threatening as it is unexpected. No telling whose ship it might be—only whose it isn’t.

I was really pleased with Rick’s design here. Its size alone makes it imposing, but all of the ship’s pointed fins, horns, and other protuberances make it appear aggressive and dangerous.

Page 3

Which it is.

The fact that the new arrivals shoot first seals the deal. Not only are they trespassing, they’re obviously up to no good. They must be claim-jumpers.

A few minutes ago, these guys were griping about their jobs. Now they’re ready to fight for them. As happens so often in life, you don’t always appreciate what you have until somebody in a big, mysterious spaceship shows up and threatens to take it away.

Page 4

The first two panels on this page might seem to convey information that could have been shown rather than just talked about. But the idea was that by focusing on the Average Joes  and their reactions to what they’re seeing, we heighten the tension for the reveal in panel 3. The men at the edge of the pit don’t know what they’re seeing, but the readers do.

Fans who have read the recent Aliens miniseries will recognize that the creatures emerging from the ship as the same peculiar breed or subspecies of Alien that appeared in the other story. What’s the deal with these particular black-and-red critters? You’ll have to read the series for the answer.

Page 5

What do you do when confronted by something unknown? Blast the hell out of it, of course. And keep on shooting. And shooting. Just be glad they’re not shooting back…

Oops.

Page 6

And here’s the first surprise of the issue. Sure, the book is called Aliens Vs. Predator, but if you thought we were going to give you the obvious right off the bat, you had better think again. These Predators and Aliens aren’t fighting each other—they’ve teamed up against mankind! As if fighting one or the other wasn’t bad enough.

Also, if you’ve read the recent Predator miniseries, you know that the big Predator in panel 1 is no regular Predator—he’s a member of the off-shoot clan of Predators who, instead of taking joy in the thrill of the hunt, are simply interested in killing and conquering.

So how did these “bad” Predators hook up with these extra-gnarly Aliens? And how in the world have these two natural enemies joined forces to become a major pain in the ass for humanity?  What? You think I’m gonna tell you everything? Read the series, pilgrim.

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Comments

  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Jan 23, 2010 at 4:51am

    wicked! They should make a movie from this :)

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