Aliens: Stronghold was a 4-issue limited comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics from May-September 1994. It was written by John Arcudi with interior illustration and cover art by Doug Mahnke, inking by Mahnke & Jimmy Palmiotti and coloring by Perry McNamee. It was lettered by Ellie De Ville and edited by Ryder Windham.
The series was later collected and published as a tradepaperback in 1996 edited by Lynn Adair with a new cover by painter Duncan Fegredo, and again in July 1997 as Aliens, Vol. 8: Stronghold edited by Jamie S. Rich with a new cover by painter John Bolton. It was finally collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 4 in July 2008.
In the Aliens comics line, Stronghold was published concurrently with Aliens: Colonial Marines (January 1993-July 1994), the unreleased Aliens: Matrix (May 1994), the original serialization of Aliens: Mondo Pest (June-August 1994) and Aliens: Earth Angel (August 1994). It was followed by Aliens: Berserker (January-April 1995).
- "No one will want to miss this off-beat, high-action thriller from the writer/artist team that brought you The Mask and The Mask Returns!"
- "When you mix the fierce intensity of the Aliens with the twisted minds of John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke, the team currently responsible for the lunacy of The Mask, you can expect that all of the questions you were ever afraid to ask would finally be answered! Can an Alien truly appreciate a hand-rolled, long-filler Cuban cigar? Now you'll know!"
Plot (Warning: Spoilers)Edit
Official description of individual issues:
On an apparently routine supply run, Philip and Joy Strunk deliver a shipment of synthetic photo receptors to Caspar Nordling, biotechnologist for Grant Corporation. When the Strunks discover that Nordling's experiments have exceeded Stanislaw Mayakovsky's work (as seen in Aliens: Hive), they realize that there's more to Nordling -- and the Aliens -- than meets the eye.
Dr. Caspar Nordling is developing a micro-organism that is deadly to Aliens, but not to people. He's had a lot of luck engineering selective viruses to kill rats and weevils, but this is something altogether different. Highly speculative. Highly volatile. Just like the doctor himself. In a remote sector of the galaxy, on an isolated Grant-Corp space station, the thin line between science and horror is narrowing, and Philip and Joy Strunk, two company employees, are finding themselves on the short end of the cut.
After watching Caspar Nordling conduct nearly sadistic experiments on an Alien chestburster, Philip and Joy Strunk question Nordling's motivations, and consider bringing the scientist up on charges. But will Nordling's synthetic Alien allow them to do it? The suspense mounts! Rebellious androids, secret investigators, and escaped xenomorphs! It looks as though Casper Nordling's perfect world is about to collapse, but Nordling may still have an ugly trick up his sleeve.
Behind the ScenesEdit
On Aliens: Stronghold, veteran Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator writer John Arcudi teamed with his longtime collaborator artist Doug Mahnke. The two had worked together as the first creative team on Dark Horse's original hit cross-over property The Mask in the 1980s.
Arcudi wrote numerous stories for the Aliens and Predator lines including the well-received Aliens: Genocide and Predator: Big Game. In 2009, when Dark Horse decided to relaunch both titles after a ten year hiatus, Arcudi was chosen by editor Chris Warner as the writer on both projects.
Artist Doug Mahnke is well known for also going on to become a successful artist on DC Comics' Justice League series, as well as others.
Stronghold would prove to be the last Aliens series collected as part of Dark Horse's "remastered Aliens Library edition" trade paperbacks, which began with edited versions of the first three miniseries which had required drastic changes in content to correct contradictions between the comics and the Aliens film series. Stronghold numbered "Volume 8" in this new line of Aliens trade paperbacks, which all also featured new covers by painter John Bolton. (Quirkily, the volumes seem to have been released out of order.) But the numbering seems to have been abandoned by the release of the next trade paperback, Aliens: Kidnapped, though it did still feature a cover by Bolton. Even that was left off for the last Aliens trade released in the 1990s, Aliens: Apocalypse - The Destroying Angels, which featured neither a volume number or a Bolton cover. No new collections were then released until the advent of the Omnibus series in 2008.