Excited for Dark Horse's relaunch of their Alien, Predator and Alien Vs. Predator comics? What about the debut of Prometheus, and the universe all four titles will share? We're thrilled to bring you this first, exclusive look at the jaw-dropping covers for all four first issues. Plus, we talked to Dark Horse editor-in-chief Scott Allie about the relaunch!
Aliens #1, cover by David Palumbo.
Predator #1 cover variant by Alex Maleev.
Aliens Vs. Predator #1 cover by E.M. Gist.
Prometheus #1 cover by David Palumbo.
"What we really wanted to do here was to create a cast of characters that would be worthy to follow across this series of comics, and possibly into future stories set in this world," explains Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie, who is overseeing all four titles, for Dark Horse. We grilled Allie on what we can expect when the four titles hit later this year.
io9: Why is the time right for a reboot now, as opposed to two years earlier or later?
Scott Allie: There was a great deal of secrecy surrounding Prometheus leading up to its launch that we weren't in a position to do a story that tied in meaningfully to the film any earlier—doing this right when Prometheus came out would have been nice, but protecting the filmmaker's vision of that movie was more important. Having some hindsight on the film, and having time to assemble this crew was the key. We wouldn't have been able to do anything as ambitious as this close to the release of the film.
How "hard" is the reboot? Has all previous continuity been erased?
Scott Allie: It is hard. When more is revealed about the nature of this project, you'll see that this isn't really a reboot. It's a complex story with a lot of moving parts. It looks back at Prometheus, for sure, and it looks at the other movies that got these stories started, but it's not heavy with continuity. One challenge with these movies, with doing spinoffs, is that they don't leave you a lot of living characters running around for sequels, or for comics. So we've lined up a team that we think can introduce a lot of new characters into the world that'll make great comic book characters. Not superheroes, of course, but the kind of iconic characters that people follow in modern comics outside of the superhero genre. We think Ridley Scott and James Cameron and everyone else really set us up to be able to do that well.
Do you plan on revisiting any classic Alien or Predator comic storylines, like Marvel does with its Ultimate comics?
Scott Allie: Nope, that's definitely not the focus here. We're more careful to not repeat things we've done before, although with so many comics in the past, there's a chance there'll be some similarities. But that's not a goal.
Which of the movies are you not treating as canon?
Scott Allie: I think we're treating them all as canon, but it's a big universe, and the human race has been around a long time. Some films are closer to our timeline than others, and we're guided more by the earlier films, and by Prometheus.
How much connection will the four comics have?
Scott Allie: A lot. The stories are very intertwined. A lot of shared characters, in some cases sort of a sense of one series being a sequel to another. In many ways this is one big story, with chapters coming out sort of simultaneously. I always say that we strive, with Hellboy and Buffy and their various titles, to make sure you can read any one book without having to pick up the others. That may be less true here. We want all the writers to have the room, in their four issue arcs, to tell complete stories, so they have a strong sense of closure at the end. But this is really one immense story.
How much are the four writers collaborating together?
Scott Allie: Quite a bit. All the writers live in Portland, where Dark Horse is based. We've been having dinners at my house, with all the writers, plus a couple guests we'll talk about at some later date—other writers who weren't able to commit to scripts, but who helped guide the conversations. The editors are all there, and Patric Reynolds, a local artist who'll be working with Roberson on Aliens. We're doing it Writers Room style. My experience with Joss Whedon and the writers from the Buffy TV show and comics has been so much fun, so enlightening and rewarding, that I wanted to recreate some of that. We kind of do the same thing on the Mignola books, but it's just me and John and Mike, so it's more like the Three Stooges getting drunk on a chatline. But I learned a process of doing this from Joss that I wanted to be able to share with some of the Dark Horse editors. I think everyone's dug it, even if there was some yelling.
When a system like this is working, you lose track of whose ideas are whose. So there will be scenes in Predator that Josh writes that might have been Paul's idea. Once you get past the point where that matters, it's really easy to focus on the best ideas, the most exciting ideas, and not sweat whether they're "your" ideas or not. Keith Richards would tell you none of the ideas belong to any of us. We just have a room full of smart people putting their hands up in the air to see what they catch.
Are you making any major changes to the general Alien/Predator/Prometheus mythos?
Scott Allie: We are nailing some things down. I don't know that any of it counts as major changes, but we are at least redefining some things.
Can you give us any specifics about the plots of any of the four comics?
Scott Allie: I can't say much, but a recon crew is given a mission to return to LV-223, where the Prometheus film took place. They have specific orders, but those orders become increasingly complicated when they arrive there, and begin to discover what went on.
How about something non-specific?
We're exploring the nature of synthetic life, and we'll do some stuff with synthetics that I don't think has been seen before. And in some ways we'll be returning to the vibe of the original film, the haunted house feel of Alien, but with really different results. There'll be a lot of casualties in the series, but some of these men and women are going to live to have future adventures in this world, and every single one of them are going to be tragically changed by what happens. We'll get surprising stories that get at the heart of what these movies have been about—the creation and stewardship of life, and the idea of the corporation as a life form of its own.
What about these comics most excites you?
Scott Allie: I'm really excited about the covers, but what I'm personally most excited about right now is seeing what the main characters, the ones we think are going to survive, are like at the end of this story, and how they're going to be in future adventures. I think right now we've got the bones of some amazing new characters, and I can't wait to see what they're like a year from now, or three years from now.