Liam Sharp (Gears of War, Judge Dredd, Testament), takes on the popular Aliens franchise with Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven from Dark Horse. Liam is a seasoned veteran when it comes to illustrating sci-fi action. If you don’t believe me, take a look at his illustrations for Gears of War. His contribution to the Aliens series is no different. This comic is for fans of Aliens who are looking for an action-packed one-shot that does not stray far from the original movies.
The characters are all familiar pulp staples. For example, one character is the veteran leader, who keeps on calling the other men “hippies” and doesn’t take crap from anyone. The characters background aren’t developed very much. They’re treated more as fodder for the Alien rather than fully fleshed-out characters. This could be either good or bad, depending on what you’re looking for. Sharp wastes no time in getting to the action, which includes an accurate portrayal of the creature and is is reminiscent of some of the best Alien comics of the ’90s. While this might not satisfy some fans, those who want another run and gun story will be more than pleased.
What everyone will enjoy is the illustrations. The art style reminds me of a modern take on the acclaimed Heavy Metal Alien graphic novel by Walt Simonson. Especially striking are the illustrations portraying the Alien. Its nightmarish form, as seen in the Ridley Scott movies and H.R. Giger‘s art, is on full display here. One of Sharp’s biggest successes is his mixing of the gruesome forms of the cocooned humans and the Alien. He makes the rescue team go through Hell, and we come along with them thanks to Sharp’s excellent artwork.
The main threat happens on a ship docked in space, a familiar scene for any Alien fan. A rescue team is dispatched to investigate a disturbance in a space elevator, and sure enough, they run into the cocooned bodies of the Alien’s victims. The rest of the graphic novel’s forty pages involve the rescue team trying to survive by exterminating the vicious life form. There are questions of whether they should try to capture the Alien, however, those are quickly resolved once the Alien strikes again.
One big bonus that you get when you buy the book is that it comes in hardcover. When I saw it first hand, I was extremely impressed. Collectors of Alien memorabilia will be very pleased to have this on their shelf. Not every book gets a hardcover release, and not every book gets an illustrator as experienced as Liam Sharp to draw it.
While fans will be pleased to see that this Alien story sticks to the original premise, they’re not going to get much more. The book ends abruptly, and you get the feeling that the story is meant to play out on a much longer scale. If you’re an Alien fan, and are ready for more horror/sci fi action, then you’ll want to buy this hardcover edition from Liam Sharp and Dark Horse here.