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Aliens: Labyrinth (comic)

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Aliens labyrinth1
Cover to Aliens: Labyrinth 1 by artist Kilian Plunkett
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Aliens: Labyrinth was a four-issue limited comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics from September 1993-January 1994. The series was written by Jim Woodring and illustrated by Kilian Plunkett, who also provided painted cover art. It was lettered by Ellie De Ville, colored by Matt Hollingsworth and edited by Ryder Windham.

The series was later published as a trade paperback in August 1995 edited by Lynn Adair with a new cover by Plunkett; and again in May 1997 as Aliens, Vol. 7: Labyrinth, again edited by Adair with new cover at by John Bolton. It was finally collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 3 in March 2008.

The series was also adapted into a novel of the same name by S.D. Perry in 1996.

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Aliens Labyrinth Issue 2 of 4 cover
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Labyrinth was immediately preceded by a two-part lead-in story entitled Aliens: Backsplash (Aug.-Sept. 1993) and featured a continuing adventure of one of the characters from that story.

Labyrinth was published concurrently with Aliens: Colonial Marines (Jan. 1993-July 1994) and Aliens: Salvation (November 1993).

It was followed by Aliens: Music of the Spears (January-April 1994).

Plot (Warning: Spoilers)Edit

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Cover to Aliens: Labyrinth, 1st tpb ed., by Kilian Plunkett
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Official description of individual issues:

Rabbits, mice, and monkeys have long been the guinea pigs of choice for research scientists everywhere, and since the practice began, it has outraged the general public. So when Colonel Doctor Paul Church switches from animals to Aliens, the public ends their protests and instead praises the good doctor... until his research assistants begin to die of mysterious causes. Only then do they ask the important question: What else is the kind of man who can torture Aliens capable of?

High above earth, aboard space station Innominata, something horrible is happening. And this time, the Aliens are the victims.

Aliens may be virtually impossible to control, but what if man could anticipate their actions? In a deep space research station, Dr. Paul Church studies Alien behavioral responses. How does an Alien track its prey? Can an Alien distinguish whether a human is armed? Will an Alien ever retreat from an attack? Test after test, patterns of behavior are revealed to Church... patterns which are predictable.

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Aliens Labyrinth issue 3 of 4 cover
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Rumor has it that the crew members of space station Innominata are expendable and can be used in clandestine experiments. Rumor has it that Paul Church, the Colonel Doctor in charge of the research facility, has been running tests to determine what makes the Aliens tick and that he's using Colonial Marines as bait. Well, the US Government doesn't like rumors -- they like facts. And so they've sent Colonel Doctor Anthony Crespi to investigate. He's empowered to get the truth any way he can. His goal is to find a way that will get him off that station alive. Harvey Award-winning writer Jim Woodring crafts a spellbinding tale of horror and mystery in Aliens: Labyrinth.

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Aliens: Labyrinth 'Aliens Library Edition', 2nd tpb
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The station is carefully supervised; every precaution is taken, but everyone knows the risks. When an apparent saboteur is killed by an escaped Alien, the site of scientific research gives way to a homicide investigation. Col. Dr. Anthony Crespi, the stalwart survivor of Aliens: Backsplash (featured in Dark Horse Comics #12 and 13), suspects that the Alien subject may not have escaped on its own, and is determined to uncover the truth.

In an acid-resistant lab, Col. Anthony Crespi assists Dr. Paul Church with an Alien autopsy, and reveals the inner workings of the biomechanical creatures. Crespi is in for even more dangerous revelations, as he and Lt. Sharon McGuinness continue their investigation into the death of a fellow crewman.

Col. Dr. Crespi continues his unrelenting hunt to catch a killer aboard the Innominata, but he gets more than he bargained for when he questions Dr. Church. In a nightmarish flashback sequence, Church recounts the grizzly details of how he survived in an Alien hive. Fans won't want to miss this glimpse into the Aliens' inner sanctum!

Tony Crespi has narrowed down his list of suspects for the Innominata slayings: Admiral Thaves wanted Mortenson's body for spare parts; Dr. Church wants to continue his bizarre Aliens experiments; and Lt. Sharon McGuinness wants revenge for her fiancé's death. Crespi may reveal the killer, but no one can be prepared for the shocking conclusion of Aliens: Labyrinth.

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Aliens Labyrinth issue 4 of 4 cover
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Behind the ScenesEdit

Labyrinth and its prequel story Aliens: Backsplash represented the first American comic book work for Irish artist Killian Plunkett, who got the job via submitting artwork at comics conventions which caught the eye of Dark Horse editor Ryder Windham. Plunkett would go on to a noteworthy career as a cover painter at Dark Horse working on numerous other Aliens projects and then on several Star Wars comics for the company, as well. He currently works as one of the main character designers on Cartoon Network's Star Wars The Clone Wars animated series.

Windham also had a storied career as Dark Horse's main Star Wars editor for a time, leading in part to a number of talented creators, such as Plunkett, transitioning from the Aliens line to the Star Wars line.

See alsoEdit

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