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Aliens vs. Predator (comic series)

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AVP SCE

Cover from Aliens vs. Predator: Special Collector's Edition reprint issue

Aliens vs. Predator (for a time Aliens versus Predator or Alien vs. Predator—all titles abbreviated as AVP) is a comic book series created and published by Dark Horse Comics that brings together the title creatures of the popular 20th Century Fox science-fiction/horror film franchises Alien and Predator.

The new resultant cross-over franchise quickly grew to include video games, novelizations, merchandizing and eventually films, all of its own. The original idea for the cross-over came from Dark Horse artist and editor Chris Warner during staff meetings in the late 1980s.

Starting with a three-issue prequel story in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents #34-36 from Nov. 1989-Jan. 1990 (the first-ever issue to feature the title "Aliens vs. Predator" atop the first-ever Aliens vs. Predator cover art being Dark Horse Presents #36), the series was launched with the first four-issue limited series in 1990 written by Randy Stradley. This was followed by various other limited series, one shots, original tradepaperbacks and short stories--twenty in total to date.

The success of that first AVP comics mini-series resulted in 13 other miniseries or stories between 1990 and 2000. This was followed by a break in publication of regular AVP comics for a period of ten years that saw the release of only two original trade paperbacks (an AVP movie spin-off and its sequel in 2004 and 2006), three AVP DVD-set promo mini-comics (in 2005, 2007 and 2008), and two collected omnibus editions reprinting all the previous AVP series in 2007.

The series also spawned a side-series of AVP cross-overs with other popular comic book characters from Dark Horse and other companies--four to date--such as Batman, Superman, the Terminator, and various Image comics characters. Much as with other earlier Alien and Predator cross-overs with outside characters, these stories are not thought to exist in the same continuity as the rest of the AVP line.

The break in publication of new AVP comics series came to an end in 2010, when Dark Horse relaunched its AVP line with the new series Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War, which is currently being released.

Common ThemesEdit

Set mostly in the future, the AVP comics introduce the idea of the Predator race--refered to as the "Hunters"--capturing Xenomorph Aliens, seeding planets with them, and hunting them for sport, often with the disastrous results of out of control battles between the two species, with humans caught in the middle.

The stories also introduce the main AVP comics protagonist--meaning the one who has appeared in the most stories, including the original and current AVP serieses and novels--Machiko Noguchi, a human female who is eventually adopted into a Hunter clan.

These stories were the first to start fleshing out detailed information about the Predator culture and the nature of their interactions with the Aliens. The AVP line has also referenced and used characters and plot elements from Dark Horse's individual Predator and Aliens comics lines, establishing that all three lines exist in the same general continuity.

A sidenote is that while in the comics the Predators are only ever refered to as the Hunters, the accompanying official novelizations of the AVP Machiko Noguchi comics were the first—and only—place to use the species name "yautja" which has since become popular amongst fans.

Influences on the AVP FilmsEdit

The original miniseries' story was also the basis for the first drafts of an originally proposed Aliens vs. Predator movie, but another script was eventually chosen for the final 2004 film. Some elements of the miniseries—specifically the apparatus for the imprisonment of the Alien Queen and the joining of forces between a Predator and a strong human female lead character—were used in the film, and the concept of the Predalien seen in the 2007 sequel, Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem, also originated in an AVP comic (Aliens vs. Predator: Duel).

NovelizationsEdit

Two of the early comics series (the original 1990 series and its 1995 follow up Aliens vs. Predator: War) were also adapted into the novelizations as Aliens vs. Predator: Prey (1994) and Aliens vs. Predator: War (1996) by father-daughter novelist team Steve and Stephani Perry, making up two thirds of the AVP novel trilogy.

Comics Series & StoriesEdit

  • Aliens vs. Predator (July-Dec. 1990)
    • by Randy Stradley, Chris Warner, and Phill Norwood, 5-issue miniseries, 176 pages
  • Dark Horse Classics - Aliens versus Predator (1997)
    • by Randy Stradley, Chris Warner and Phill Norwood, 6-issue miniseries, reprints original series, 176 pages
  • Aliens vs. Predator: The Web (Sept.-Oct. 1999)
    • by Ian Edginton, Derek Thompson and Brian O'Connell, 2-part story in Dark Horse Presents #146-147, 20 pages

Omnibus EditionsEdit

Aliens vs. Predator Omnibus:

  • Volume 1 (April 2007) (collects Aliens vs. Predator - original series, Blood Time, Duel, War, Eternal, Old Secrets, The Web, 456 pages)
  • Volume 2 (Oct. 2007) (collects Deadliest of the Species, Booty, Hell-Bent, Pursuit, Lefty's Revenge, Chained to Life and Death, Xenogenesis, 448 pages)

Cross-Over ComicsEdit

Other series have thrown extra combatants into the mix in a range of crossovers:

Plots (Warning: Spoilers)Edit

OriginalEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator (Series 1)

The first Aliens versus Predator centers on Ryushi, a recently-colonized planet, and Machiko Noguchi, the Chigusa Corporation's administrator there. The settlers on Ryushi raise cattle-like quadrupedal ungulates called rhynth for export to other solar systems, and at the time of the story are in the process of assembling a shipment of the native livestock.

Unbeknownst to the colonists, Ryushi is a traditional hunting ground of the Predators, and they are returning for their initiation rites. On board the Predator ship, the prey are prepared : an Alien queen lays eggs for delivery to Ryushi. Confounding the Predator's safeguards, this queen manages to slip an egg containing the seed of another queen into the shipment.

On reaching Ryushi, the eggs hatch and infect Rhynths. Led by a Predator elder, "Broken Tusk", the Predators arrive expecting to encounter Aliens. However, they soon run into the settlers and, after Broken Tusk is incapacitated, change their plans and hunt them instead.

Meanwhile, the infected Rhynth have been loaded aboard a cargo transporter and, with a queen among their number, an Alien colony quickly takes hold. The Predator assault continues to the settler colony itself, and the surviving settlers find themselves pitched between the Aliens and Predators. Broken Tusk, now recovered due to the intervention of a human doctor, sides with Machiko, and together with the cargo ship's crew they arrange for the transporter's massive orbiter to crash into Ryushi and destroy the colony and the Aliens.

In the ensuing fight, Broken Tusk is mortally wounded, but, admiring the courage of his human comrade, "bloods" Machiko with the mark of his clan. The story concludes with Machiko the sole inhabitant of Ryushi, the surviving settlers having been evacuated from the planet. She awaits, and is rewarded with, the return of the Predators and another hunt. One of Broken Tusk's former Predator rivals greets her and, recognizing Broken Tusk's clan symbol, accepts Machiko into the hunt.

Deadliest of the SpeciesEdit

Main article: Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species

Set in a time after the alien Xenomorphs have overrun the Earth (as seen in Aliens: Outbreak) and the rich have left the surface to live in skyliners. In one of these airships a girl is having strange dreams and they are about to start coming true.

Blood TimeEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time

A tale told from the Predators' perspective, the elder hunter Top Knot from the original AVP miniseries leads a party of novice warriors on a Xenomorph hunt where a young Predator called Two Stripe plots treachery.

DuelEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Duel

Sent to investigate the devastation of the Prosperity Wells settlement from the original AVP miniseries, a group of Colonial Marines finds a crashed Predator ship on Ryushi and must face off against warring Aliens, Predators lead by the one-handed hunter from Blood Time, as well as a new menace, the terrifying Predalien in its first-ever appearance.

WarEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: War (comic)

Disgruntled with her life amongst the hunters, Machiko Noguchi must make a choice and turns on the Predators as they conduct a xenomorph hunt on a planet with a human exploratory colony. Three refugees from a prior corporate-staged Alien encounter (as seen in Aliens: Berserker) have just arrived on the planet and also trying to battle their way to freedom.

BootyEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Booty

A tag-team of Predator pirates intercept a cargo of an Alien Queen in-transit to a secret testing lab on Innomata Station (from Aliens: Labirynth), and three hapless crew-members get caught in the crossfire.

EternalEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Eternal

In the near future in the 21st century, a 700+ year old man named Gideon Suhn Lee uses technology from a salvaged Predator ship to gain fame and fortune, and uses Predator body parts to unnaturally extend his life. A self-serving reporter gets caught up in his schemes just as the man unwittlingly unleashes xenomorphs from the ship, attracting a Predator hunting party. (In a story that features references to Predator: Xenogenesis)

XenogenesisEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Xenogenesis

Thrill of the HuntEdit

Main article: Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt

Civilized BeastsEdit

Main article: Alien vs. Predator: Civilized Beasts

Three World WarEdit

Main article: Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War

Proper Series NameEdit

The current and proper form of the name of the fully spelled out AVP comics franchise is "Aliens vs. Predator." This was the original name and it is again the current name used by Dark Horse Comics. Though other forms of the name, also trademarked by Dark Horse, are occasionally used. Points to consider when thinking about the title situation are as follows:

  • Plurality: While the name of the franchise has taken 4 forms over its history (Aliens vs. Predator, Aliens versus Predator, Aliens/Predator, and Alien vs. Predator), overwhelmingly the name of the franchise itself and the name of almost all of its individual titles have used the plural "Aliens" instead of "Alien". The only exception was the 2004 comic book "Alien vs. Predator: Thrill of the Hunt", its 2006 sequel "Alien vs. Predator 2: Civilized Beasts," and three promotional mini-comics distributed with the AVP movie DVD releaes. The reason these five titles used the singular is because Thrill of the Hunt was released as a direct spin-off of the first AVP film, which used the singular (Alien vs. Predator) in its title, and Civilized Beast continued to use it because it was Volume 2 of the story from Thrill of the Hunt. And the promo-mini-comics were similar spin-offs included with the movie's DVD release. Otherwise, every other AVP comic ever made in history has used the plural. In 2008 when Dark Horse released Omnibus editions of the series it was again using the plural, as is the current AVP comics series, Three World War. The reason the plural was originally used is that the AVP line was the bringing together of Dark Horse Comics' "Aliens" license with their "Predator" licence. There had already been a comic based on Ridley Scott's "Alien" by another company, and Dark Horse's comics were a spin-off of the James Cameron film "Aliens" and literally continued its story, using the same logo. Also multiple aliens were featured in the story instead just a single alien. Hence: "Aliens" not "Alien".
  • vs: The history of using "vs.", "versus", or "/" can also easily be charted. The original and current usage is "vs." From 1991-1998 "versus" became standard. And twice a "/" has been used. History: The name on the covers of the original miniseries in 1989-90 was simply "Aliens vs. Predator." The title was revised for the miniseries' collected edition in 1991 to "Aliens versus Predator", and this was the form that would be mostly regular used on the comic books from 1991-1998. Conversationally and in print "versus" would be substituted with "vs." from time to time. But the actual comic book covers clearly used "versus." There were only three exceptions to this. 1993's "Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species" used a "/". 1995's "Alien vs. Predator: Duel" again used "vs." And the 1996 trade paperback edition of the story "Aliens versus Predator: War" was released as "Aliens/Predator: War". The last AVP comic to use the fully spelled out "versus" was "Aliens versus Predator: Eternal" in 1998 and its tpb in 1999. But by 1999 all AVP comics were using "vs" once again. This has been standard since. Also the two AVP omnibus editions released in 2007, recollecting and reprinting all the previous AVP material formally revised the titles of all the comics under the title "Aliens vs. Predator."

See alsoEdit

Individual listings for each series, linked in article above.

External linksEdit

  • AVP Zone, official AVP page at the Dark Horse Comics' website.

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