Aliens: Newt's Tale is a two-issue comic book based on the film Aliens that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from June-July 1992. It was written by Mike Richardson, based on the original screenplay by James Cameron, and was illustrated by Jim Somerville, inked by Brian Garvey, colored by Gregory Wright, lettered by Pat Brosseau and edited by Randy Stradley, with cover art by John Bolton. While ostensibly an adaptation of the movie, it is presented entirely from the perspective of Newt and also features numerous scenes not included in the film, including a lengthy section set during the initial stages of the Xenomorph infestation at Hadley's Hope, before the Colonial Marines arrive.
#1: Adapted from writer/director James Cameron's original screenplay, Aliens: Newt's Tale includes all of the action you never saw in the movie: from the discovery of the derelict extraterrestrial spacecraft by Newt's parents, to the Alien attack on the colony of Hadley's Hope!
#2: Newt, Ripley and the remaining Marines find themselves hopelessly outnumbered by Aliens. To make matters worse, the nuclear reactor in the nearby oxygen plant is close to meltdown! Don't miss the climactic battle between Ripley and the Queen Alien! Adapted from writer/director James Cameron's original screenplay.
The story then flashes back to Hadley's Hope.
The beginning of the end
In the Operations building, Lydecker and Administrator Simpson are discussing Russ Jorden, who has called into question his salvage rights after being sent to the Ilium Range several days previously on company orders. Simpson says that as far as he is concerned, anything Jorden finds is his.
On the Illium Range, the Jordens — Russ, Anne and their children Timmy and Newt — are in their Daihotai Tractor searching a grid. Timmy is yelling to Newt about cheating at monster maze (a game the children play inside the colony's air ducts) because Newt can go in places the other kids cannot reach due to her smaller size. Anne stops the fight, before the family stumble upon a derelict spacecraft. Anne and Russ head inside to investigate, but Russ is attacked by a Facehugger. Anne calls back to Hadley's Hope for help as Newt screams.
Russ awakens in the colony's infirmary 25 hours later while Anne and Dr. Kent check on his present condition. Timmy and Newt are not allowed in to see their father, but Timmy's friend Aaron convinces them to sneak through the air ducts so that they can see him. They reach a vent overlooking the infirmary, from where they observe as Dr. Kent tells Russ and Anne that more people have been sent to investigate the ship. At that moment, several of the men return, some of whom have also been subdued by Facehuggers. Suddenly, the Chestburster inside Russ emerges, killing him as Newt watches in terror.
Hell breaks loose
A few days later, Anne, Newt, Timmy and the rest of the colonists are being moved to a sub-level storage room for safety. One of the men explains that the Xenomorphs are hunting them one by one and it is better to barricade themselves and make a stand because the Marines are on their way.
One of the colonists, Bill Andrews, tells Anne that they have located the Xenomorph's nest inside the colony's Atmosphere Processing Plant and that an armed party has been sent to kill the creatures. However, Drapers, the man commanding the party, soon radios in and frantically explains that there are a lot more Xenomorphs than they anticipated, and that they have discovered what has happened to the missing colonists and livestock. Then, the signal is lost.
After repelling the attack on their nest, the Xenomorphs head for the colony en masse. In the sub-basement, Anne asks another colonist for a gun, telling them that, if it comes to it, she would rather kill her own children than let the Xenomorphs take them alive. After hearing gunshots outside, one of the men insists they open the door and try to help the survivors. Against the protests of others, the barricade is opened and they find a badly injured and dying Drapers, along with the entire Xenomorph horde. The Xenomorphs pour inside the storage room and proceed to slaughter or capture everyone. Amidst the chaos, Anne prepares to kill her children, but Timmy insists they can escape trough the air ducts. However, as they try to flee a Xenomorph Warrior attacks Anne and kills her. Timmy grabs her pistol and shoots the creature, but is hit by the acid blood that bursts from its body, killing him too. Only Newt manages to escape.
Newt hides alone in the colony's vents for almost two weeks, before the Colonial Marines arrive with Ellen Ripley. Soon after their arrival, the Marines detect Newt on their motion trackers and Ripley grabs her inside a duct. After a brief medical examination by Corporal Dietrich, the Marines elect to investigate the Atmosphere Processor when the colonists' PDTs are located there. Newt knows what this means, but when she tries to escape again she is stopped by Corporal Hicks.
The Marines enter the Hive inside the Atmosphere Processor and find Mary cocooned to the wall. Before they can save her, a Chestburster erupts from her, and when it is incinerated with flamethrowers the rest of the Hive awakens. During the resultant ambush Ripley drives the unit's APC into the Hive and saves Hicks and Privates Hudson and Vazquez. Lieutenant Gorman is knocked unconscious by some falling grates while they escape. Following the disaster, the survivors elect to destroy the entire colony with a nuclear strike from orbit, against company rep Carter Burke's protests. They call their dropship pilot, Corporal Ferro, for immediate evacuation, but an stowaway Warrior kills Ferro en route and the dropship crashes into the APC. Now stranded, the survivors retreat to the Operations building.
With no other choice, the remaining Marines repair the barricades inside the colony and set up several sentry guns, hoping to make a stand until a rescue mission can arrive. Ripley sends Newt to sleep and tells her she will never let her go, even if it means to die. Ripley confronts Burke about the fate of the colony, having discovered that it was he who first ordered the derelict to be investigated. Meanwhile, the Xenomorphs attack through a tunnel beneath the complex and overwhelm the first sentry gun position.
Bishop informs the survivors that the Atmosphere Processing Plant has been damaged, and that the impending meltdown will destroy the colony. The survivors decide to bring down their reserve dropship from the Sulaco by remote control, and Bishop volunteers to go to the uplink and pilot it. While they wait, Ripley falls asleep beside Newt, but when they wake they discover that two Facehuggers have been set loose in the room. The Marines save them and learn Burke was responsible. They elect to kill him, but at that moment the Xenomorphs attack the Operations rooms.
Hudson is dragged away through the floor, while Burke escapes and locks the others inside, before he is ambushed by a Warrior. Newt leads the others to safety through the air ducts, although Vazquez and Gorman sacrifice themselves with a grenade when they are trapped. Newt slips into a vertical shaft and she is separated from Ripley and Hicks. Despite their efforts to rescue her, Newt is captured by the Xenomorphs.
Escape and exodus
Newt awakens cocooned inside the Hive, and is moments from being attacked by a Facehugger when Ripley arrives to save her. As they make their escape, they discover Burke, also cocooned to the wall and begging for help. Ripley hands him a grenade and moves on. The two then stumble into the Queen's chamber. Ripley promptly incinerates her Eggs, enraging the Queen, before escaping with the Queen in pursuit. They reach the landing platform, only to discover Bishop has left. The Queen appears and prepares to attack, but Bishop returns in the dropship. Together they escape the moon just seconds before Atmosphere Processor explodes.
Back on the Sulaco, Bishop is severely damaged when the Queen reappears and tears him in half, having stowed away in the dropship's undercarriage. Ripley fights the Queen with a Power Loader and ejects her through the hangar's airlock. Ripley, Bishop, Hicks and Newt enter cryosleep for the return to Earth.
The story returns to the opening scene, with Newt sleeping peacefully in the hypersleep chamber. As she dreams, a Facehugger slowly crawls towards her cryotube...
Aliens: Newt's Tale was first serialized and reprinted in the United Kingdom in 7 parts in Aliens magazine, Vol. 2 #2-8, from August 1992-February 1993. The reprint was originally supposed to begin in Vol. 2 #1 of the magazine, hence the use of John Bolton's Newt's Tale artwork on that issue's cover, but delays in re-editing the comic for the magazine meant it had to be delayed until Vol. 2 #2.
The comic was also briefly reissued in trade paperback form in the UK in 1994 by Titan Comics, reusing Bolton's cover from issue 2. The story has not been collected or reissued since.
Behind the Scenes
Prior to release, a short preview of the comic was published in Dark Horse Insider, Vol. 2 #4.
Writer Mike Richardson is in fact the founder and chief publisher for Dark Horse Comics. Richardson has created the story premise or worked as writer on a number of projects for the company over the years. He started out as a comic book store owner in the Portland, Oregon area before establishing Dark Horse in 1986.
- Newt's Tale is in fact not the only comic book adaptation of Aliens — an unlicensed adaptation was published in Hungary under the title A Bolygó Neve: Halál ("The Planet's Name: Death", the Hungarian title for Aliens). As an unofficial product, it has not been recognized by Dark Horse (or 20th Century Fox) in any way. Hungary has also produced a series of Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator novels that are not officially endorsed by Fox.
- Aliens: Newt's Tale is somewhat unique in that it is an adaptation of a film, yet was not released until six years after that film was in theaters. Every other film adaptation comic in the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchises has been released to coincide with the release of the respective film, as would be typical.
- Much of the additional material in the comic is based on scenes that were filmed but cut from Aliens prior to release, including Russ and Anne Jorden discovering the derelict, Hicks' concern that he might get rabies when Newt repeatedly bites him, and Burke's death within the Hive. While none of this footage made it into the theatrical cut of the film, the scene where Russ and Anne discover the derelict was later reinstated in the extended Special Edition. The initial takeover of the colony, however, was never scripted to be a part of the film.
- Several scenes from issue 1 of the comic were later included in the novel Alien: River of Pain, which chronicles the fall of Hadley's Hope in greater detail.
- The sign outside Hadley's Hope gives the colony's population as 159. However, in Aliens, the colony's population is 158 (given both on the sign outside in the extended Special Edition, and when Ripley tells Burke he is responsible for 157 deaths — 157 + Newt = 158).
- Aliens (comics line) — The long-running line of Aliens comics by Dark Horse Comics.
- Aliens (film) — The 1986 film.
- Aliens (novel) — The novelization of the film by Alan Dean Foster.