Aliens vs. Predator, also known as Aliens versus Predator, is a five-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from June-December 1990. The contents of the second issue (actually issue #0) were originally published in three installments in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #34-36, from November 1989-January 1990, as three prologue stories taking place immediately prior to the events of the series. The story was written by Randy Stradley, illustrated by Phill Norwood and Chris Warner, inked by Mark Propst, Brian Stelfreeze, Karl Story, Stine Walsh and Robert Campanella, lettered by Pat Brosseau, colored by Monika Livingston and edited by Diana Schutz, with cover art by Norwood, Dave Dorman and Mike Mignola. The comic was later adapted as the novel Aliens vs. Predator: Prey by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry.
The main character of Machiko Noguchi would go on to appear in the comics Aliens vs. Predator: War and Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War, forming something of a trilogy. Characters and references to events from the first series would also appear in Aliens vs. Predator: Duel and Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time.
#1: Continuing the story begun in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #34-#36, this is it — Dark Horse Comics' most ambitious project to date! The inhabitants of the colony planet Ryushi are peaceful ranchers — men and women who lead simple lives. But their lives are tragically shattered as they become part of a "coming of age" ceremony for that race of deadly alien hunters — the Predators. However, the Predators' prey are not the human inhabitants of Ryushi, but rather something far more dangerous — Aliens!
#0: Originally published in three installments in Dark Horse Presents, this edition collects the blockbuster "prequel" tale written by Randy Stradley and illustrated by Phillip Norwood. This storyline takes place prior to events contained in the Aliens vs. Predator four-issue, full-color series.
#2: The quiet settlement on the planet Ryushi is turned into a battleground as the Predators clash with the vastly superior numbers of the Alien horde — with the few remaining humans caught in the middle fighting both sides! However, when it becomes apparent that the Aliens are winning, the humans and the Predators are faced with a tough choice: trust each other — or die!
#3: All hell breaks loose as the warring Predators begin their attack on the Alien brood — with the planet's inhabitants caught right in the middle! Machiko has a plan to roust all the invaders, but what can she do alone, with only a gun at her side?
#4: Action is the key word for this final issue of comicdom's best-selling direct-sale comic book series! Machiko's only allies against the ever-increasing Alien horde are a lone Predator and a man on the brink of death!
An enormous transport vessel, The Lector is faring trough the stars. Captain Tom Strandberg and co-pilot Scott Conover are talking about the morality of exploiting other planets by human corporations, it turns into a discussion about how boring and pointless life is thanks to technology and survival of the fittest. As the talk continues, a Yautja called Dachande prepares for a fight on hunting ground rights with a rival Predator called Top-Knot, and scenes of a captive Xenomorph Queen outsmarting ship security by slipping an Ovomorph (egg) in the shipment intended for the hunt.
The Yautja send eggs to three different planets and the planet chosen by Dachande is saved for last, one of the jungle planets appear to be Bunda. Top Knot successfully hunts the Xenomorphs in the marsh covered planet and is ready for more.
The pod with the eggs arrives on Ryushi at dusk and is detected by long-range radar by Prosperity Wells operations center by Weaver, but is tagged as a meteor. Upon arrival, the pod starts to deliver the eggs. Meanwhile, Administrator Hiroki Shimura is instructing fellow administrator and replacement Machiko Noguchi about how important must be for her make some friends among the colonists, which are hostiles to Noguchi, specially a stubborn rancher called Ackland, who constantly teases Machiko about payment.
At nightfall, The Lector arrives at Ryushi and Ackland’s worker Jame Roth find dead Facehugger in Beriki canyon, where his rhynth were. Roth is told by Ackland to give the Facehuggers to Kesar Revna, the town's biologist and doctor, but the doctor is not told the exact location where to find the Facehuggers.
A party is held in the town for the arrival of The Lector and their first rhynth export shipment to Earth. Machiko gains some points with the ranchers by gaining some raise in their payments, much to Ackland surprise. Meanwhile, Dr. Revna is investigating the place where Roth told him he found the Facehuggers. Instead, he finds the Predator shuttle and is killed by accident, knocking out Dachande in the process. The young Predators, now without a guide, are on the loose and very angry.
At dawn, Machiko and Hiroki send pilots Ashley Ikeda and David Spanner to Iwa Gorge in search of the doctor, instead they find the destroyed ship and an unconscious Dachande. They take him back to the colony as the young predators observe them. The predators start attacking a ranch, leaving only a boy who escapes to the main settlement. The boy arrives and positively identifies Dachande as one of the attackers.
In The Lector, a Hive is established by the infected rhynths, killing the crew and cocooning the two pilots onboard. The town is put into alert and barricades are built for a Predator attack, but the predators quickly destroy the barricades. Machiko, surprised that The Lector is still on the ground and there is no communication, goes in person to check while escorted by Mason. Suddenly, a group of Xenomorphs attack the two. Mason is killed and the creatures close in on Machiko, but she's saved by a Yautja, who is also killed by the Xenomorphs.
Hiroki, Riley, Johnson, and the other colonists are killed by the Predators, as both Machiko and Weaver watch through security cameras. Machiko has a plan and goes out of the operations center. He advises Dr. Miriam Revna, Kesar's wife, to stay inside and questions her about the relationship between Aliens and Predators. Just moments before, a Predator tried to kill Miriam, but she was saved by Dachande. Machiko and Miriam take the copter in starting her plan: Release all the locked rhynth to create a massive stampede, which is the signal for the colonists to evacuate the town from the opposite side. Machiko tries to save Dachande from the communication antenna, but a Xenomorph causes the copter to crash, killing Miriam in the process. As Scott and Tom, who are now free from the hive, help Machiko, Dachande holds Miriam’s body in respect.
Now trapped inside the operations complex, Machiko, Tom, Scott and Dachande learn that Chigusa Coporation wants the aliens for study and Tom is killed by a chestburster. Scott realizes he’s infected with a chestburster and give them the code in crashing the orbital shuttle into Prosperity Wells. Machiko then gives Scott a mercy killing.
Machiko and Dachande drive right into The Lector and as Dachande keeps the aliens at bay, Machiko enter the code and both run for the escape pod. The Queen attacks them and Dachande is mortally wounded, but Machiko close the pod’s door, beheading the queen and both escape as the shuttle crashes and destroys Prosperity Wells.
With his last strength, Dachande marks Machiko with his clan’s symbol. The colonists are rescued and moved to another system. Machiko stays at Ryushi, waiting for Dachande's clan. Two years later, the Predators return and are surprised by Machiko. Top-Knot, Dachande rival, recognizes the marking and greets Machiko into the hunt.
The series, along with its prologue story from issue 0, was first serialized and reprinted in the United Kingdom in 11 parts in Aliens magazine, Vol. 1 #1-11, from February-December 1991. Although no distinction was made between the prologue and the main series, the former remained in black and white, suddenly switching to color without explanation when the main story began.
The series, again including its prologue as well as its epilogue story from Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special, was later collected in trade paperback form in December 1991 as Alien versus Predator. This release was edited by Randy Stradley and Jerry Prosser, and featured a new wrap-around painted cover by Phill Norwood. The previously black and white prologue and epilogue were also colored by Monika Livingston to match the rest of the series. The trade paperback was released again as a limited edition 1,000-print hardcover in December 1992.
The full series, including both the prologue and epilogue, was reissued in a six-issue format under the title Dark Horse Classics - Aliens versus Predator from February-July 1997. For this release, the entire series was recolored by Chris Chalenor and In-Color, re-edited by David Land, and featured new covers by artist Michael Dubisch.
The comic and its story formed the basis of The Hunt: Alien vs. Predator, a script for a potential feature film based on the Aliens vs. Predator series written by Peter Briggs in the early 1990s. However, the film was not developed at that time, and when a feature film based on the franchise did finally enter production (2004's Alien vs. Predator), the plot and characters had little basis in the original comic series.
Even so, some minor elements from the miniseries — specifically the apparatus for the imprisonment of the Alien Queen, the concept of Predator's hunting Aliens for sport or rites of passage, the teaming of a lead female human protagonist with the lead predator, and the use of Alien-body parts to make specific weapons — were carried over into Paul W. S. Anderson's film.
Behind the Scenes
Numerous sources, including Dark Horse founder/publisher Mike Richardson, state that the initial idea for an Aliens vs. Predator crossover comic book came from Chris Warner during a meeting discussing a potential crossover involving DC Comics, as a sort of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man-style monster meet-up. Warner, who has worked on numerous Aliens/Predator/AVP projects, would go on to serve in his current position as editor of all three comics lines for Dark Horse.
The series was preceded by a prequel short story, also called Aliens vs. Predator, published in Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #34-36. The three installments of the prequel were respectively titled "Aliens", "Predator" and finally "Aliens vs. Predator" (in Dark Horse Presents #36), the latter being the time that the title Aliens vs. Predator was used on any official media. Dark Horse Presents #36 was published with two separate covers, one by AVP creator Chris Warner and a painted version by artist Dave Dorman. Several other Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comic book series were likewise preceded by namesake prequels.
The tooth-and-claw match up of what were hailed as "Fox's two greatest horror properties" was considered Dark Horse Comics' most ambitious project to date, and when this comic first appeared, it debuted as the best-selling comic to ever be published by an alternative publisher. It was also hailed by the company as comicdom's best-selling direct-sale comic book series.
In June 1991, the company released a limited edition Aliens vs. Predator lithograph of artist Dave Dorman's stunning painting (which originally appeared as the cover to Aliens vs. Predator #4 — only the sixth ever cover illustration he did for the company), featuring the series' unlikely partners — Machiko and Dachande — ready for action as the menacing tails of a hundred Xenomorphs close in for the kill. The exclusive lithograph was limited to 1,500 copies, each signed and numbered by Dorman. Reaction to the illustration was very positive and Dorman would go on to illustrate the graphic novella Aliens: Tribes for Dark Horse.
Much of the information in the story was expanded upon in the 1999 novelization by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry, titled Aliens vs. Predator: Prey. This included giving a proper name to the Predator species — which in the comics is referred to simply as the "hunter" species. In the novelization they are referred to as the "Yautja", and Dachande's Predator-language name is also revealed as well as further information on his backstory. Timeline wise, the events of the first miniseries appear to take place before the Xenomorph infestation of the Earth as seen in Aliens: Outbreak. The follow-up comic book series, Aliens vs. Predator: Duel, subsequently makes mention of the events from the film Aliens as having already happened.
- A continuity error within the series is that although several Rhynth are used as hosts by the Xenomorphs, the resulting specimens are simply Warriors; the idea of Xenomorphs taking on the features of their hosts was not properly established until one year later following the release of Alien3.