Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator is a four-issue limited crossover comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from April-July 2000. It was written by Mark Schultz, illustrated by Mel Rubi, inked by Christopher Ivy, colored by Dave Stewart, lettered by Pat Brosseau and Steve Dutro, and edited by Philip Amara, Adam Gallardo and Tim Ervin-Gore, with cover art by Dwayne Turner. The series brought together Dark Horse's three flagship movie-adaptation licenses.
In the overall Dark Horse crossover comics line, Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator was preceded by Overkill: Witchblade/Aliens/Darkness/Predator, published concurrently with Superman vs. Predator, and was followed by Green Lantern versus Aliens.
#1: In the year 2032, John Connor and his human resistance forces wage war against Skynet, a soulless super-computer bent on exterminating mankind. Sensing ultimate defeat, Skynet goes into hiding. Centuries later, it is awakened by stealth Terminators posing as human scientists. Now an even deadlier Skynet is using the science of the far future to create invincible Terminators by gene-splicing their human tissue with the DNA of the deadliest creatures in the galaxy — Aliens! Earth's only chance lies in the hands of a legendary heroine named Ellen Ripley and an uneasy alliance with another deadly non-terrestrial race, the man-stalking super-hunters known only as Predators! Even this ancient hunter race understands that Skynet threatens all life in the universe. Plus, they love a good fight! And so they weigh in on the side of humanity... but can these feral killers be trusted? Featuring covers by Dwayne Turner (Spawn)!
#2: It's Ellen Ripley and Annalee Call against the ultimate nightmare killing machine: a Terminator-Alien hybrid! How can such a horrible thing exist? The answer may lurk in the memory of the destroyed Terminator named Trollenberg, or in the guiding voice of a savior who lived centuries ago — John Connor! And the Predators? They continue a mysterious agenda that happens to include hijacking Ripley. All this, and a plot to resurrect Skynet! Fasten your gravity drive safety harness — it's going to be a bumpy ride!
#3: The deadly Terminator-Alien hybrids are getting closer and closer to Los Alamos 235 and to the ability to reproduce themselves. Meanwhile, Ripley is being held on board a Predator ship and is about to undergo a little exploratory surgery. Be there as three of the greatest ass-kickers in sci-fi continue to duke it out — with humanity stuck in the middle!
#4: This is the cataclysmic, atom-smashing climax to end all climaxes, as Aliens, Predators, Terminators and humans collide... with all of the future as the prize! No one, no thing walks away from this one unscarred; after years (centuries, actually) of victimization and horror, will Ripley regain control of her life? She may come out on top of the Aliens, Predators, and Terminators, but don't bet on a "happy" ending!
The story begins in a sewer-residing community at an undisclosed location (possibly on Earth). The characters are looking for someone, whom they find in the form of a seemingly decrepit woman in rags. At her request they attempt to help her stand, at which point she begins to attack them, beating the larger men easily before Annalee Call (Winona Ryder's character from Alien: Resurrection) identifies herself to the woman, who is revealed to be the Ellen Ripley clone (also from Alien Resurrection). Call then takes Ripley back to her base of operations, where she expresses her sadness that Ripley left her after their promise to stay together after Alien: Resurrection. She informs Ripley of a new military operation on the science station Typhoon, involving a hybrid Xenomorph supersoldier, led by a Dr. Trollenberg. Also at this point, Ripley explains that she nearly didn't sign on for her position on the Nostromo ship.
The story moves to Dr. Trollenberg working on the supersoldier. He is approached by General Helm, who is in charge of the station and intent on shutting down the project after Trollenberg requested cybernetic components. The doctor then opens fire and proceeds to kill the general and his two guards, before changing his voice to match the general's and hailing the bridge, informing them that the general will remain with in the lab till the completion of the project and can only be contacted there. He finishes by throwing the three bodies into a vat of acid.
Back at Call's base, Ripley is still yet to be convinced to join the mission to stop Trollenberg's project. Ripley mentions that she no longer has nightmares about the Aliens; she plainly states that they "can't be stopped. The Aliens are coming and the human race is going to suffer... they just do what they have to do. And then you're dead and it's over". Eventually Call blackmails Ripley, saying she will inform the military of her location, to which Ripley replies: "I could learn to hate you".
Meanwhile a Predator is travelling towards the Typhoon, intent on hunting the supersoldier. Call, her crew and Ripley infiltrate the station disguised as "the World's Most Unexceptional Food Delivery Service", and after killing the guards move into Trollenberg's lab. Inside they find Trollenberg who proceeds to kill two of Call's crew before the cloaked Predator decapitates him with its disc, leaving Call, Ripley and the survivors stunned. Immediately following the now decloaked Predator is thrown back into the room, only to be followed by the hulking form supersoldier who proceeds to fight the Predator.
Ripley, Call and her crew stand stunned as the supersoldier and Predator fight, noting that the supersoldier is almost impervious to harm and is able to absorb metal objects to regenerate damage. After tearing off one of the Predator's arms, the supersoldier moves to absorb a portion of the exterior bulkhead of the lab, opening a hole into the vacuum which quickly dispatches the Predator.
Moving quickly back towards the shuttle (with Trollenberg's head) the heroes quickly escape before the space station explodes from the breach, meanwhile the supersoldier boards a smaller science vessel/escape pod taking with it some Alien chestbursters. As the space station explodes, Ripley has a bad feeling that the supersoldier survived and in the 'science pod' the supersoldier commences work on a second supersoldier who was also near completion.
Call suggests she hack into Trollenberg's skull to learn more about him, she explains that the skull and its wiring "is very weird... advanced in some ways, in others a real antique". Once inside Trollenberg's memory she encounters a shell program and is approached by an interactive recording of John Connor, who goes on to explain the 'Skynet war, concluding with the "Skynet Resurrection Program" which used a model known as the "Crypto-Terminators" (of which Trollenberg was one) which were capable of existing in civilization indefinitely until such time that technological advancements would allow for a new generation of Terminators which would be unstoppable (during this, scenes from Trollenberg's existence are shown, including the creation of the supersoldier). The recording finishes with "the victorious forces of the 21st Century salute you... and wish you good luck".
Logging out of Trollenberg's memories, Call expresses concern that this is simply another great cover up in history, although the discussion is cut short by Predator space craft surrounding their ship before teleporting on board. The Predators then capture Ripley and disappear as if they were never there, and elsewhere the science pod reaches its destination and two supersoldiers disembark.
Following her abduction Ripley is free to walk about the Predators' warship learning much about their race and culture (especially their connection to the Aliens). After extracting the location of a stockpile of Aliens (known as the Black Asteroid) from the genetic memory Ripley received from her cross-DNA, the Predators offer Ripley the chance to fight and die alongside them during their assault of the Black Asteroid, Ripley refers to them as understanding the universal balance and working to maintain it, they arm her and give her ceremonial warpaint.
Elsewhere Call and her remaining crew recover and make their own way to the Black Asteroid, Call having learned of it years before. Meanwhile the supersoldiers have taken over their rescue vessel and have begun their own successful assault, easily taking over the Black Asteroid itself.
In the space surrounding the Black Asteroid an entire fleet of military ships have arrived to retake the station only to be wiped out by a powerful energy surge, this is watched in horror by Call and her crew.
Ripley and the Predators infiltrate the station to find the supersoldiers have created even more new supersoldiers which look more monstrous than the original two (presumably this is similar to the endoskeleton of regular terminators), the Predators assault is as unsuccessful as the battle on the Typhoon, due to the supersoldiers' ability to absorb massive amounts of energy (even at the cost of their own lives), they even render the Predator's self-destruct weapons useless.
As Call and her crew move through the carnage of the Black Asteroid, Ripley moves to the stockpile of fully-grown Aliens, seeing the chance to even the odds she releases the Aliens whose acid blood is able to damage the supersoldiers, the remaining Predators use this to their advantage firing into the fray before falling to the Aliens themselves.
Running into Call, Ripley informs her she needs to leave the station whilst she hunts down the remaining supersoldier (the original), Ripley thanks Call for bringing her back into the fight one last time before she leaves. Call and her crew quickly move to leave the station as it is destroyed.
On board an escape craft Ripley stalks towards the prototype, remarking of the similar situation she experienced on the Nostromo's escape pod (only now the roles reversed), Ripley moves to kill the Terminator but its superior speed, strength, and reflex response allow it to evade her attack. Cutting her hand she grapples with the Terminator having sprayed her blood over the ships controls/fuel tanks. The escape craft explodes and we are left with Annalee Call eulogizing Ripley in her final moments, ultimately ending her part in the Alien universe.
Behind the Scenes
The idea of killer robotic Xenomorphs was first introduced with the deadly Techseks from the 1992 miniseries Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species. Sythentic/robotic Xenomorphs were also featured in the comics Aliens: Harvest (Norbert) and Aliens: Stronghold (Jeri), and the video game Aliens versus Predator (the Xenoborgs).
Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator was typical of Dark Horse's Aliens/Predator/Aliens vs. Predator content from the 2000s, which was almost entirely focused on crossovers with other licenses instead of original content for either of the individual series.
The comic is one of few stories in the Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator franchise to be set in the 24th century advanced time period of Alien Resurrection. Other examples include the comics Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt and Alien vs. Predator: Civilized Beasts, and the novel Aliens: Original Sin. Several recent novels have been set even further into humanity's future, starting with the book Alien: Sea of Sorrows.
Aliens versus Predator versus The Terminator writer Mark Schultz also wrote the comic miniseries Predator: Hell & Hot Water and Aliens: Apocalypse for Dark Horse. Artist Mel Rubi was also artist on the franchises-wide Xenogenesis cross-over event which ran through all three of the Aliens, Predator and AVP comics lines in 1999.
Cover artist Dwayne Turner is well known for his work with other mainstream comics companies and characters. In the 1990s, he co-created the super team Sovereign 7 for DC Comics with popular X-Men (and Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species) writer Chris Claremont.
- It was once said (by Dark Horse Comics) that Detective Hal Vukovich (played by Lance Henriksen in James Cameron's The Terminator), was a member, possibly the first on record, of the Bishop family, and after hearing of the idea of a robotic man in a skin suit from Sarah Connor, he passed on the idea to his family before being terminated. As the Bishop family descended, they eventually created Synthetics, and went on to create Weyland Industries. However, considering the AvPvT series is non-canon, it is presumed this fact is too.
- After Major Dutch's death, his body was donated to Cyberdyne Systems in accordance to his will for what he believed will be a noble cause (for the future of humanity).