Friday, August 8, 2008

Collection spotlight: Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus volume 2

As you may have noticed, today is not Thursday and this is a Collection Spotlight, something I said would be every Thursday. Well I’ve pushed Collection Spotlight back a day. Not because of delays, oh no, I had this done last Saturday evening. I am pushing this back because, when I do and am able to have a weekly review on Wednesday, I would want it to stay up for 2 days as the main post. So now expect every other Spotlight like this one, on a Friday.

Last time we spotlighted the great first volume of the Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus. Now Dark Horse has been releasing lots of Omnibuses since early last year, already the Aliens are at 5 volumes and the Predators at nearly 4. While I don’t have any of those, I do have the first 2 volumes of their popular AvP franchise, and here I’m reviewing volume 2, collecting several short stories, as well as the popular Deadliest of the Species by comic’s legend Christ Claremont. Similar to last time, since there’s so many stories, we’re doing a 1 to 10 score on each story, 1 being the worst, 10 being the best.

So that’s enough for introductions, let’s get into the spotlight!

Deadliest of the Species

Written: Chris Claremont

Art: Jackson Guice

Eduardo Barreto

Story comments: Unlike last time with the AvP review, I’m not going to go all that in depth as to the story and all it’s characters. Mainly because it’s so damn long and confusing! Now don’t think that means I hate it, it’s just that if I spent too long writing about the story in general, it’d take up way too much space.

So, with that, I’ll give you the bare minimum. Your main character is a trophy wife, a slave robot of sorts. Kind of like those “robot humans” or Stepford Wives you see in horror flicks. Honestly, her name escapes me. Though her real name is Ash so we’ll just call her that.

So Ash is having nightmares, in doing so explaining how the earth is overrun with Aliens and that all the humans live on big floating ships above the world now. It’s a plausible idea and Claremont seems to be the only one who went through with it first. But after her first bad dream, the story seems to jump back and forth from dream to reality. You seriously can’t read any new event in this story without being careful that it may be a dream. That’s something you expect from A Nightmare and Elm Street, not Aliens vs. Predator.

But that aside, the story is a strong one. It delves into a very deep and interesting tale of survival. Alien and Predator forced to join sides? Wow. But oddly enough it isn’t done in a stupid or gimmicky kind of way. Claremont obviously as a deep respect for the franchise and never once brings it down to a cheap level.

Despite being a bit convoluted at times, it’s still a fairly strong story that keeps consistent and never seems to falter for the sake of shocking you. Claremont tells this just like if you where going to watch the film of it, each scene continues the story and doesn’t drag it down at all.

Characters are all well done, nice and varied, and by the time they start getting in hot water you’re left worried about them more than you would typical characters of their stock value.

The ending is very epic and big, Claremont creating some new species of Xenomorph (the technical term for Aliens) called a King Alien, that fights with some odd albino Human Xenomorph (It’s complicated) and it teaming up with Big Momma (the Predator of this story) make for one hell of an epic clash that leads to a great finish for what is a strong, enjoyable sci fi story.

So if you enjoy epic crazy sci fi adventures, then you’ll probably love Deadliest of the Species.

Art comments: The art here is very consistent and well done, neither Alien or Predator look flat and cheesy as seen in previous stories. They jump out at you and look very much like their film counterparts before, and that really helps drive the story home, the art. It works incredibly well here, it’s a serious realistic art, and the tone never changes to cartoony or silly looking, keeping the serious tone of the story. It definitely helps make this a great AvP storyline and a must have for any fan of the franchise.

8 out of 10


Written: Barbara Kesel

Art: Ron Randall

Story comments: It’s too bad that this is following Deadliest of the Species, after that great story, any other after it would just feel like a let down. That coupled with how short and quick Booty is makes it a disappointing, but all right, AvP story.

The characters are all stock and cliché people thrown into an Alien and Predator fight. There really isn’t much beyond that. It’s as boring and uninteresting as it sounds, that along with how short it is, makes this a tough story to review. There is nothing noteworthy or mentionable here.

The ending is, again, the simple “team up with the Predator” ending we’ve seen in the past. It was cool the first time, but now it’s just become boring and unoriginal since everyone seems to do it with no rhyme or reason as to their team up.

While not poorly written in general, just boring and flat out a waste of time.

Art comments: the art here has it’s good moments, but the crappy look on the Aliens definitely takes away from how great the Predator looks. It’s more of a give and take, one thing looks good and the other looks like crap.

2 out of 10


Written and art: David Ross

Story comments: Here’s another boring story of a cliché, though with a slight twist at the end. Again, the characters are stock, the fighting doesn’t feel important, and everyone dies at that end. There is really no point to it, and you can skip this one and barely notice it existed anyway. I don’t have much to say on these short stories since they seem to be so poor and boring.

Art: The art is pretty goo, it’s got nice detail and some great shots, but that can’t make up for such a poor and boring storyline.

2 out of 10


Written: Ian Edginton

Art: Mel Rubi

Opening comments: Okay, I’m almost sure that Dark Horse just pulled out a bunch of Dark Horse Presents stories or something. All these short 10 page stories are getting ridiculous and frustrating. Luckily, Edginton at least bring a level of interest to this story, but it isn’t enough to save this short throwaway tale.

It’s basically some space captain recalling events on a planet to her superior. They ran into Predators, but then get saved by Aliens that are lead by some half Alien Half Human girl. It odd and really doesn’t make any sense. I think there was a brief mention as to her origin, but it wasn’t enough to interest me.

Another boring entry, but Edginton deserves some credit for at least mixing things up and not being the same old same old like with the last 2 stories.

Art comments: Mel Rubi does a great job here, his art really stylizes and draws you in. It’s great, needless to say. He does an awesome job on the Aliens most notably, making everything look really wild. But still, I can’t help but wonder why they chose him as an AvP artist; he doesn’t really seem to fit the style of the AvP comics. But that aside, he does a great job here.

5 out of 10

Lefty’s Revenge

Written: Brian McDonald

Art: Pop Mhan

Story comments: You know what’s a good way to show this is a simple throwaway story? The first image of our main character shows her with her breasts nearly out from her torn outfit. That right there should tell you that this is a simple story that will only hold your attention for as long you can take in a breath.

All right, that was a little harsh. This is actually an all right so try, but I get the suspicious feeling this is to some other comic that this either preludes or is after. Our main character (In all her near naked glory) narrates, explaining that she’s got a past with the Predator Lefty, who’s missing a hand! How clever of a name.

It’s actually a pretty fun story, we see some funny dialogue with Lefty and quick action scenes. But…why would I want that in an AvP comic? I would like a more serious and interesting story, not Spider-man meets Predator: Jungle Fever. This feels so out of place and silly.

Art comments: All joking about how poorly dressed she is, Mhan does a really good job here. Similar to Rubi, his art is really stylized and pops out. It’s fun to look at and really conveys a fun image for the storyline. While it may not fit what the tone SHOULD be, for what the story is, it’s perfect and really great art.

6 out of 10

“Chained to Life and Death”

Written: Mark Schultz

Art: Tom Boindolillo

Story comments: 6 pages of snore. This is the life of a Predator. In six, boring, boring pages. The narration is poor and monotone, never doing much but keeping with the boring tone of this short story. There is really nothing to see here, it’s a boring poorly done story of what is a really great concept, finally seeing one of these stories through the perspective of a Predator. But with the page limit, the story is poor at best.

Art comments: The art is all right. With some nice detail and a few good panels, but there is no room to really show off the art, so this falls flat as well. Making a boring, totally uninteresting and poorly done story.

1 out of 10


Written: Andi Watson

Art: Mel Rubi

Story comments: this is an interesting story, rather hard to review when I’m not even clear at the whole plot. But to sum it up…some guy works for a company, he used to be a petty criminal, like his girlfriend was, she got shipped out to prison to do time and he reformed into this upstanding business guy. While he girlfriend was locked up, he was sleeping with his secretary, then his girlfriend comes back into his life. Somehow they get into some trouble with the company, he has an important brief case, and an Alien/Predator fight is going on all of a sudden in this building.

It’s confusing, needless to say, but an all right story.

Really, that’s all I have to say. It’s not bad, actually very entertaining and a good read. But I have no special points to point out, it’s just all right. Nothing special or really exciting. It’s a fun read, similar to Lefty’s Revenge, only minus the great jokes. It’s a solid enjoyable story, but it’s hard to take seriously. It feels more like a action comedy than anything.

The 2 main characters are fairly well done, their nothing special, but their compelling enough to make me interested in the story. They definitely pick up the slack that the Aliens and Predator leave.

Art comments: Rubi again delivers a great art performance here, and with more story than before, his art really has a great chance to show off. The Aliens and Predator look great, and the style of his art fits the light and fun tone of the story. Making this a fine ending to this fairly competent second volume.

6 out of 10

Final Comments: Honestly, the first volume of AvP definitely packs more AvPunch (get it?) and has more serious stories at least. Whereas this one was crammed with throwaway stories that only entertain to the simplest of your senses and don’t pull you in as much. But hey, no Eternal or Old Secrets, so at least there’s that.

Also, fun little fact as to why you also would want to buy this, the collection of Deadliest of the Species is 30$, yes this is only 25 bucks. So if you like a good deal, check this out for sure.

Buy It.

Next time, we will be spotlighting Spider-man: The birth of Venom.

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