With the Earth overrun, humanity must take to the stars for survival, with little to no hope they traverse the universe, looking for a way to save the planet, one man has a plan. He intends to train the Xenomorphs to fight one another! What could go wrong?
Title: Aliens v2 (Nightmare Asylum)
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Art: Denis Beauvais
Letters: Bob Pinaha
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Publication Date: Issue #1 December 1989
What You Need to Know:
Following the complete invasion of the Earth by millions of Xenomorphs humanity has taken to space for survival, one such ship, The American, houses 2 human survivors, Corporal Hicks and Newt and one halved android, they’re not alone up there! Directly follows the first Aliens mini from 1988, which is a direct sequel to Aliens (the second one) for whatever reason the Dark Horse Aliens series disregard Alien 3 and onward for the most part besides official adaptations.
This miniseries is preceded by Aliens: Outbreak (originally called Aliens v1) and Alien Earthwar. Interesting to note in the collected edition (which I’ll be using for scans) they changed the names and a couple pages here and there to downplay the connection to the movies, but the single issues (which I’m reading for my summary as I own them) had the same names as the movie characters.
What You’ll Find Out:
We open on a giant ship silently traversing the galaxy, the inhabitants spend all day watching closed circuit tv transmissions of Earth, a dead, alien planet now, the human race is still eking out an existence where it can, although transmissions are becoming few and far between, and they’re relying more and more on automated sources to show them what’s happening back home. Newt startles awake after a disturbing dream, nearly 18 now she’s much more capable than last time we saw her, she and Hicks lock and load, there are Xenomorphs about! After a short search, a fire alarm goes off and they find a hidden compartment in the hold and signs of Aliens, including a dead Xeno corpse and several dead bodies in cryotubes, apparently the company was attempting to transport hosts on this ship secretly to somewhere. They quickly dispatch the other 3 Aliens and move on to their destination, wondering why there were aliens aboard their ship, on a routine delivery.
They arrive at their destination and as they walk off they see soldiers unloading a dozen or so Xenos in stasis pods, the commander yells at them for killing their cargo, go figure, haha. General Spears has a dream, a dream of domesticated Xenomorphs to be deployed in combat situations, they’ve been shown to be trainable. (or more likely are smart enough to pretend to be trainable) The duo is detained by the military due to the subjects they killed. After a night in captivity, they are brought to dinner with the general, while they eat a small crew of soldiers plans an escape, slipping out a side door.
The soldiers make it to a nearby terraforming colony, sneaking inside and planning on using a shuttle to escape the planet and it’s unhinged General. Once inside they quickly realize (too late) that the colony is completely overrun by Xenos, released by the General to simulate actual breeding conditions for his experiments. They all die unceremoniously and quickly, with the General watching the last one. The depths of the insanity are further explored in a sequence you should discover for yourself!
You’ll have to read the rest on your own, the end is pretty awesome!
What Just Happened?
This miniseries is probably my personal favorite of the early Aliens miniseries, although a whole lot of them are pretty fun, if you like this I recommend v1, Earthwar, Aliens vs Predator (the 1990 mini) Hive, Pig (a one-shot written by Chuck Dixon from 1994 or so) Music of the Spears (which features the rare combination of Aliens vs ninjas!) and many of the crossovers like vs Batman are great as well.
The script by Mark Verheiden is pretty typical and follows the archetypes established by the movies well, and follows the much larger overarching story that the is the second installment of. Verheiden is basically the man that made alien comics what they are through the early 90s.
Verheiden doesn’t write comics anymore, as he started to focus on writing and producing tv shows, most recently working on Ash vs Evil Dead. (cue record scratch, WHAAAAAA?!?!?!)
The story in this one is an interesting one, if not one that was often mimicked in years following, unfortunately, that does take some of the magic out of this one. Likewise, it greatly bothers me that the collected edition changes some details including names and brightens up the colors by the incredible Denis Beauvais, criminal.
The single issue scans of this book are terrible, the ones I found online don’t really do the book justice, between being recolored, brightened and cleaned up it may as well be a different book, it’s a bit of a bummer. So don’t necessarily judge this book based on these scans. Single issue scan is on the left, with nice soft painted lines, which show up amazing in a full-size book, recolored and inked on the right, just subtly different, not bad, just not the same.
This story is available as a hardcover edition paired with Aliens Earthwar for about 20$ or a smaller collection for considerably less, I really do prefer the singles, which I was able to find for 4$ each for a total of 16$. This mini is also included in the Aliens omnibus vol 1, which I found on Amazon for about 75$. Also just announced recently is an upcoming Aliens paperback omnibus I will definitely be buying that will be released in October containing this arc, at 25$ this is probably your best bet if you’re not interested in the singles.
An amazing step in the Alien Earthwar Saga and what I consider a can’t miss miniseries from the era. Aliens v2 is my go-to recommendation for people asking for a good Aliens series. Seriously, check it out for yourself.
I adore the covers to this mini, so here’s a cover gallery just for you!
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