Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus, Vol. 1
Edited by Chris Warner
Cover Artist: Glenn Fabry
Review by Gayle Surrette
Dark Horse Books Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9781593077358
Date: 26 June 2007 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
I've always been fascinated by Aliens, Predators, and battles between the two (AvP). Mostly, I find the development of the two species and their somewhat symbiotic relationship difficult to explain as being beneficial to each species' survival. The Predators do seed planets with Alien eggs in order to hunt them, thus spreading the Aliens to new planets. But what do the Predators get out of it? But, then again, I don't understand the drive to hunt trophies either.
There are seven separate stories in the Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus, Vol. 1. Some are direct continuations for the story that went before and others loosely link the segments and fill in some interesting side action or information. The bulk of the omnibus is a graphic retelling of Aliens vs. Predator: Prey (1994), Aliens vs. Predator: Hunter's Planet (1994), and Aliens vs. Predator: War (1999). Randy Stradley was listed as a co-author on each of these novels and wrote the scripts for the graphic versions in this omnibus.
These three stores feature Machiko Noguchi who, in the first story, has been sent to the planet Ryushi to take over for the current administrator who will move on to a new position. The Predators have in the past used Ryushi as one of the hunting ground and they've already seeded it for a new hunt. Unfortunately, for everyone, this is all happening just as the transport ship is coming in to take on the planets major export – Rhynth (a cattle analog).
It's unfortunate because a rancher has found discarded facehuggers near a group of rhynth that are acting sluggish and dazed. Readers aware of the various stages of the alien growth cycle will immediately have a good idea of what is going to happen next. The rancher sends a facehugger to the scientist investigating the local fauna, but tells him it came from an area far from his ranch since he couldn't afford to have his animals quarantined. This, of course, is the decision that drives the debacle to follow.
One of the survivors of the Alien incursion and Predator hunt is Machiko Noguchi who turns out to be quite good with weapons, combat tactics, quick and logical thinking, and with a strong desire to live. She's given a warrior's mark by a highly placed Predator and decides to join them to learn about them and their hunts. Thus continuing her role in the other longer sections of the omnibus.
The artwork works well with the narrative to pull the reader into the story and keep them interested. The characters are well defined and recognizable even in groupings. The color enhances the story's emotional content. The art gives a strong impression of setting, whether it is the sun-baked arid land of Ryushi or of a swampy forest planet.
If you're a fan of the AvP stories, you'll want to read this collection.