I bring that up because I thought that – while the film was smart – it probably could’ve used better handling by those who should’ve known better. The end result apparently is that it was all supposed to feel “set” within the greater ALIEN mythology … and that’s pretty much made clear in the final pages of this terrific-looking miniseries coming from Dark Horse Comics.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the type of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
From Dark Horse’s website: “When the Prometheus never returned from her fateful journey to LV-223, the questions surrounding the origins of man went unanswered. Now a new team of explorers seeks to uncover the dark mystery that holds not only the fate of the original mission, but possibly their own damnation.”
Picking up quite some time after the events of the aforementioned film, PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE may or may not be answering some of the questions left lingering within the greater context of that story; I won’t spoil the particulars for you, but I will tell you all of it appears to be tying in to one of the flick’s central themes, that being ‘who are we’?
As a first issue, FIRE AND STONE #1 is exceedingly impressive. The inside page basically posits a recap of events – that being the mystery of what happened followed up with where we are now – and then the action segues to an event taking place on the world LV-223. Then, the narrative is thrown forward over 100 years in order for the crew of the ship Helios to get their introductions into the larger galaxy. Clara Atkinson – one of the group – is detailing the trip via a digital video recording, hoping to capture the events for viewers interested in deep space exploration. Basically, this trickery gives writer Paul Tobin a device with which to bring the reading audience up-to-speed about the who’s, what’s, where’s, etc. While it’d be easy to dismiss it as a storytelling gimmick, Tobin was smart to include enough personal observation about these people that it feels much more organic than it probably should.
Once these faces have their names, then the shipmates descends to the world below … only to learn that nothing is as they were led to believe. What you have here is the making of a terrific mystery – one involving the past as well as the present – and it’s all brought to life in an almost cinematic feel by artist Juan Ferreyra. Everything looks and feels authentic to this universe that director Scott fashioned long and not-so-long ago, from the spacecraft interiors right down to the surface of LV-223.
Thematically – much like PROMETHEUS did as a motion picture – FIRE AND STONE looks to be tapping into the same vein, raising the fundamental question about who the human race is. There are lingering asides thrown out about the Engineers (the alien race hinted at from the film), but as the action here slides effortlessly into the realm of ‘where are we’ I predict next issue might raise the ante in ways the readers and this crew never saw coming … especially if that closing panel is any indication.
As a starting point, this first issue is very solid. Hopefully, everything that will follow will prove that the franchise PROMETHEUS might be a terrific avenue for Dark Horse to pursue as I’ll bet there’s an audience willing to take this ride to the stars.
PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE (#1 of 4) is published by Dark Horse Comics. The script is written by Paul Tobin; the art is provided by Juan Ferreyra; the letters are done by Nate Piekos of Blambot; with cover art duties taken care of my David Palumbo. The issue cites a special thanks to Scott Allie, Randy Stradley, and Shantel LaRocque. The issue bears the cover price of $3.50, and that’s a bargain so far as this longtime comic book reader is concerned.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Excellent start, excellent story, excellent artwork. What more could you want? Plus, it has one of the best cliffhangers I’ve seen in quite some time. Bravo!
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Dark Horse Comics provided me with a digital reading copy of PROMETHEUS: FIRE AND STONE (#1 of 4) by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review; and their contribution to me in no way, shape, or form influenced my opinion of it.