Thursday, 11 September 2014

New Beginnings - Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1

by Matt Puddy

Back in the days of VHS videos and slightly less than strictly adhered to film certificate laws, I came across a film that changed my appreciation of science fiction forever – Aliens. I quickly followed it up by finding and watching the original and then over the coming (I’m sad to say this) decades I have followed the Alien and Predator franchises in almost all forms of media including the games.

So now this week we have Prometheus: Fire and Stone. Following on from the renowned head-scratcher of a film (for both its setup and amazement at why one person couldn’t run sideways in the face of a crashing spaceship), the comic takes up almost where it left off and stays in canon.

Paul Tobin’s story opens prior to the Prometheus film, with a probe scouring an apparently dead planet only to see it smashed under foot of one of the Engineers. Skipping forward 129 years to a point not long after Aliens, scientific curiosity has once again got the better of mankind. Following up on the probe’s findings - and also the reports of a crashed and more importantly salvageable craft - a team are led to LV-233 with everything being chronicled by filmmaker Clara Atkinson.

After a brief introduction to all of the crew, and some of their peculiarities, the party heads down to the surface. Things are not right almost from the very beginning. What was considered a barren desert planet has a thriving jungle ecosystem, contrary to what should be there. Strange creatures and insects aside they continue their foraging in search of the ship. Stranger sights are still afoot, but eventually they find their prize - a completely intact ship, apparently from the ill-fated LV-426 (Hadley’s Hope). But they have no idea what is waiting inside for them. As the reader though, you can see exactly what lies behind door number one. A dormant but deadly batch of xenomorphs.

The story has a very familiar feel to it, and is written in a similar style to Alien and Aliens. There are a few scenes which could have been transplanted from either film; for example the meet and greet, which has overtones of both the dinner scene from Alien and the military briefing in Aliens.

From a scripting point of view the story is easy to read and flows throughout through the narrative lens of the filmmaker. What I did notice though is that this is almost an optical illusion, seeing as it doesn’t actually cover that much, although what it does it does well.

Artistically, Juan Ferreyra’s work is quite good. There is a gritty differential to the camera feed and equally a huge diverse appearance in the jungle. He also has a clear skill for new phylum in the xenobiology depictions. I liked his work overall but did feel that occasionally there could have been some more definition and detail as some of the frames were a little soft for my liking.

Overall this is exactly what I would have expected from a Dark Horse title continuing their good run with the Aliens and Predator franchises. I will caveat that by repeating I am a big fan of the films, books, comics and games (yes, even Colonial Marines) and so this was an easy choice for me.

For any other fans this is also a sure win, with three linked miniseries ready to bloom across all of the other brands.

Matt Puddy is looking forward to the new BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Good Omens.

No comments:

Post a Comment