Aliens: Life and Death is a four-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from September-December 2016. It is was also published simultaneously in the digital format via Dark Horse Digital. The story was written by Dan Abnett, illustrated and inked by Moritat, colored by Rain Beredo, lettered by Michael Heisler and edited by Freddye Miller, Randy Stradley and Kevin Burkhalter, with cover art by David Palumbo. Sachin Teng also provided a variant cover for the first issue.
Aliens: Life and Death forms the Aliens component of Dark Horse's franchise-crossing Life and Death event in 2016/2017, and is being released in conjunction with Predator: Life and Death, Prometheus: Life and Death and Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death. The four series all form one continuous story and all were written by Abnett.
In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: Life and Death was preceded by Aliens: Defiance - Extravehicular, published concurrently with Aliens: Defiance, and was followed by Aliens: The Original Comics Series Volume 2.
The Colonial Marines get a taste of what it's like to be at the bottom of the food chain!
#2: Up till now, the Colonial Marines have been reacting to attacks by the Predators and the Engineers. But having escaped LV-223, they make the decision to return and fight — against the deadliest adversaries in the galaxy!
#3: Having returned to LV-223 to save one of their own, Captain Paget and her Colonial Marines find themselves once again stranded — and facing an army of Xenomorphs!
#4: As the Colonial Marines on LV-223 prepare to make their last stand against the Xenomorph horde, their one hope may lie in the Alien queen!
Taking place directly after the events of Prometheus: Life and Death, Freebody's group are fighting off a horde of Xenomorphs. Wearing is killed by the creatures and Chris is taken by them. Against Jill's wishes, the marines are forced to retreat.
Galgo is still dealing with numerous Xenomorphs and the Second Engineer whilst Roth, still on the moon, later regroups with Freebody. Roth and Freebody discusses their chances whilst Melville is comforting a distraught Jill who is mourning the loss of her wife. Suddenly, an APC arrives at their junction, with the personnel revealed to be Captain Paget and Ancane, who had followed the derelict all the way to LV-223 on the Hasdrubal.
The remains of Roth's squad, with Paget, retreat back to the Hasdrubal to plan the next move. Paget is motivated to return back to the moon and attempt to rescue Chris and Rucker. Paget briefs with the remaining marines that she is returning to LV-223. Numerous others volunteer to go with her. Meanwhile, Jill strikes a deal with Lorimer. If Chris is recovered alive, Lorimer will get her to top-level surgery treatment under Weyland-Yutani to extract the Xenomorph chestburster inside her without killing Chris. In exchange, the company can have the specimen.
The marines land on the moon and manage to contact Chris, who is being surveyed by a Xenomorph Queen. Chris contacts Roth and reveals to him that she's been impregnated. She suddenly notices Rucker, who is stuck to the wall. He suddenly births an incredibly deformed chestburster, leading Chris to suggest that the black goo must have infected the Xenomorphs, and their Queen is unable to produce healthy infants. She concludes that the Xenos are harboring a new Queen inside of her.
The team is suddenly ambushed by Xenomorphs, who are trying to protect Chris from the marines. Chris manages to threaten the Queen with a grenade to let the marines go and she complies, buying the marines a little more time. This breather is cut short by the second Engineer, who had recently destroyed their dropship before attacking them. The ensuing battle results in numerous marines being killed, including Ancane. Chris manages to reason with the Queen and notifies it on how much a threat the Engineer is to the hive and her Queen chestburster. As the marines are dwindling in numbers from the second Engineer's onslaught, the Queen erupts from the ground and attacks it, the marines being able to escape and rescue Chris in the process, as the Queen impales the Engineer, killing it. The marines return to their ship, only to meet it completely in ruins.
Aliens: Life and Death was collected and released as a trade paperback on April 12, 2017. The collected edition reused David Palumbo's cover artwork from issue 1.
The series will be collected again, along with the other Life and Death stories, in Aliens/Predator/Prometheus/AVP: The Complete Life and Death in September 2018.
Behind the Scenes
Because the vast majority of Xenomorphs seen in the Aliens portion of the Life and Death story cycle were birthed from non-human hosts, as well as the presence of the incredibly mutagenic black goo, Dark Horse Comics enlisted artist Moritat to create some new Alien designs, highlighting how the creatures exhibit physical aspects of their hosts.
- The cover of issue 4 is very similar to that of Aliens: Nightmare Asylum #3, both showing a Queen emerging from an open hatchway and snarling at the reader; in fact, the cover to Aliens: Life and Death #4 is a virtual mirror image of the Nightmare Asylum cover. This is quite possibly an intentional homage.