Aliens: Alchemy is a three-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from September-December 1997. It was written by John Arcudi, illustrated by Richard Corben, colored by John Pound and Stuart Hiner, lettered by Gary Fields and edited by Philip Amara and David Land, with cover art by Corben.
In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: Alchemy was preceded by Aliens: Purge, was published concurrently with the movie adaptation Alien Resurrection and Aliens: Kidnapped, and was followed Aliens: Tourist Season.
#1: Toch's a second-generation survivor, born of a transport crew that crash-landed on a deserted, backwater planet. He may have discovered a means of getting off the mudball, but he's also discovered another impediment — the deadly cargo the ship was carrying!
#2: It's the end of the world and the almighty First Father hath sent a plague of Aliens. Give your faith to him or face an eternity of damnation.
#3: The end of the world is at hand, and an eternity of damnation awaits. But two siblings, Toch and Rachel, aren't buying into all the death and destruction. They have a hunch that salvation rests within the haunted transport ship that brought their ancestors to the planet hundreds of years ago. But there might be an Alien or two along the way!
The story begins with brother Toch Newcomen camping in the ruins of a crashed ship and asking himself about a crysis of faith. Suddendly, he sees what appeaers to be a ghost of a Marine on the ruins and flee in terror. Next day he is preaching on the town of Emerson about an impending ecological disaster. Meanwhile, Legate Carson Muir is attending a meeting with the town council and Mrs Kartha Hitrese about a salvage referendum which permits Mrs Hitrese a salvage mission to the crashed ship. Legate Muir cites holy scriptures and ended the discussion.
Toch preachings causes town's drunk Rurik to start yelling about a monster called the dark one, and this attracts the attention of Sergeant Rachel, Toch's sister. Their conversation is cut off by the arrival of legate Muir, who tells Toch is time for his meeting with "First Father".
Muir, Toch and other brother are praying in the ruins of the ship, and Toch is worried about what is next. Muir tells him its his duty as he has seen the truth, Toch reluctantly accepts. Later two of the brothers are looking for other two called Ojvind and Wald, who hadn't reported. They find brother Wald's ravaged body and call the police. Rachel Newcomen and other officer go to the refuge and find brother Ojvind cooconed to the roof and beggin to be killed. That night, Osbert, the town's barman toss out Carl, but he enters again bleeding from a wound. As he tried to help him, a xenomorph impales and drags him out. His wife Kina, closes the door but the alien jumps trough the window and kills her. Rachel interrogate Muir about the murder and only gets a warning from Muir about the "dark night of extinction".
A week later, the alien had killed twelve people. Muir is giving a sermon about fear and is more than pleased that the town's people now listen him with attention, ending with the promise that First Father will protect them all, signaling at a stained glass of First Father with a group of children in a flower covered meadow.
Captain Price and Sergeant Newcomen found the corpse of a rancher, Traupman, and all his men and cattle murdered. The xenomorph attack but arrows have no effect on it, melted by the acidic blood. It kill them all but Rachel, saved by captain Price, who wound the xeno with his sword but is killed by the acid blood.
Mrs Hitrese and legate Muir question Rachel about the monster, and Muir used the misunderstanding about the creature's origin as a mutation as a proof of his preachings, winning over Hitrese about the salvage referendum. Mrs Hitrese then reveals Rachel about the true nature of Muir as a psychopath, being an animal torturer and bully as child. Rachel then go to the refuge and enter First Father's chamber, only to find the remains of his brother Toch and a badly damaged Synthetic.
The synthetic, now revealed to be First Father, tells Rachel the truth. almost a century ago, he was known as Meeker, the USS Emerson's synthetic babysitter, the exploration ship was struck by a virus infection that kill all adults. An emergency contingence routed the ship to the nearest habitable planet and it crashed, but Meeker and the children survived and found the town of Emerson. Meeker tells Rose, a litle girl, she must keep an old book, a 20th century novel about ecological warning, which later became the holy scriptures. Rose grew up and became the first legate, teaching others and as fanatic as she was, disabled Meeker, but keeps him locked because he knows about the xenomorph eggs aboard the Emerson. Each new Legate was chosen from a Bully to keep control over population, and is hinted that they used the xenos before.
Knowing the truth, Rachel goes to the ruins of the Emerson and ambushed legate Muir's caravan, killing a facehugged brother they are carrying back to town. They flee inside the ship with Rachel in tow. Inside, Muir uses his special mix who hide their scents from the xenomorph, but one brother panics and flee, only to be killed by the alien. Rachel destroys the remaining eggs in the cargo hold and then confronts Muir. In that moment, the ghost marine of the begining appears, revealed to be an holographic security projection. As Muir mistakes it as a ghost the alien attack and kill him. Rachel kills the xenomorph with a Pulse Rifle from the armory. She then back to town at sunset.
Aliens: Alchemy was eventually collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 5 in October 2008.
Behind the ScenesEdit
John Arcudi is a veteran writer of Aliens and Predator comics, having also worked on Predator: God's Truth, Predator: Big Game, Aliens: Reapers, Aliens: Genocide, Aliens: Alien, Aliens: Stronghold, Aliens: More Than Human and Predator: Prey to the Heavens. He was also the original writer on Dark Horse Comics' The Mask, which was turned into a theatrical film of the same name starring Jim Carrey.
Artist Richard Corben was also the artist on the story Predator: 1718, and of the covers for the series Aliens vs. Predator: War, among work on other Ailens/Predator/Aliens vs. Predator-universe projects.