Aliens: The Alien is a short comic book story that was first published by Dark Horse Comics in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #56, in November 1991. Originally published in black and white, the story was written by John Arcudi, illustrated by Tony Akins and Paul Guinan, inked by Guinan, lettered by Willie Schubert and edited by Randy Stradley. The issue of Dark Horse Presents also featured featured a jam cover with an Aliens segment by Guinan.
The comic is one of the few Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comic books to serve as a direct sequel to an earlier story. Specifically, it reveals the fate of the Engineer left orbiting Earth at the end of Aliens: Outbreak, and reveals why he is no longer present when Hicks and Newt return there at the end of Aliens: Nightmare Asylum. The story also serves as a prequel to the four-issue series Aliens: Genocide.
The President of the United States and his ministers are called to Gateway Station, where they are appointed to meet with the Space Jockey who is orbiting Earth and reshaping the planet with a terraforming device. The meeting is actually an assassination attempt that helps free humanity from potential subjugation.
It was later collected alongside a number of other Aliens stories published in Dark Horse Presents up to that point in the Dark Horse Presents: Aliens trade paperback, released in April 1992. For this release the story was colored by Rachelle Menashe.
The story was was eventually collected again as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 1 in July 2007.
The comic was released digitally through Dark Horse Digital on February 13, 2013, collected with Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation and reusing John Bolton's cover art from Aliens, Vol. 2: Nightmare Asylum.
Behind the Scenes
This long unsung short story serves as an important connecting link between Aliens: Female War and Aliens: Genocide, taking place between the two stories and explaining how the Earth becomes habitable again after the events at the end of Female War, at which point the Earth was apparently left a nuclear irradiated waste with a Space Jockey vessel hovering in orbit and conducting terraforming of the whole planet via an energy beam. The explanation in The Alien allowed for the plausibility of all of the events that followed in Genocide and every other Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator story since.
United Kingdom-based artist Simon Bisley is world renown for his painted fantasy-style artwork on titles such as Judge Dredd, Lobo, and Heavy Metal magazine.
- Aliens: The Alien is one of the few Aliens comics — along with Aliens: Genocide, Aliens: Music of the Spears, Aliens: Crusade and Aliens (2009 short story) — that illustrates developments on Earth after its infestation by Xenomorphs and thereby explains how the planet was able to recover from such a devastating event.