23 December, 2014

The Invisible Enemy

A Review Aliens Versus Predator #3
Part Ten of "James Versus Fire and Stone"

The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away. So let us reach shoulder deep into the barrel of medical waste that is AvP and see what we find. I brought this upon myself.

Another awesome cover form EM Gist

AvP #3 is a return to form of the inaugural issue. While #2 saw a slight uptick with its drunken arabesque of a story, #3 makes me ask the age old questions of “Huh?” and “Why, God, why?” and “What the fuck are they doing over there?” Questions, like all of the great questions, that we'll never have an answer to.

Alien Versus Predator #3 from Christopher Sebela and Ariel Olivetti is bilge. It should only be read by the very strong of will so that it does not taint your moral, ethical, or psychological constitution. If you must read it, keep a sitter near by to watch over you, as you might break down and end up doing something like swollowing your own tongue.

Let's get the happening of the issue out of the way:

Well, bullshit happens. Structurally, this entire comic reads like the third act of an action movie. There is no set up, there is no rising action, there is only climax. Having a story consist only of climax is no easy feat. Even James Cameron, in all of his indulgent glory, is an artist that understands the importance of narrative structure.

With that said, there is no real plot progression. The characters backslide from developments in previous issues, characteristics and plot points are dropped and picked up at the drop of the hat, and it generally makes about as much sense as fecal scrawlings on a Turkish asylum's walls. The most grevious of all of these developments is that the doctor decides that getting blood from Elden the Android and shooting it up is still a viable option. Because, you know, something has to happen in this comic.

Now that I think about it, did the doctor intentionally mutate Elden? Was this just a slight side effect to his main plan? Is he an actual mad scientist? Do I care?

So, in a poorly choreographed sequence of panels, he manages to incapacitate Elden with an Elmer Fudd-level contraption and manages to take a sample of his blood (which, apparently isn't covering the entire stupid space ship at this point) and then, like some refugee from the best Brett Easton Ellis novel ever, takes a shelter in a broom closet and shoots himself full of mutated android blood.

All the while, Elden is stuck outside like a fat kid at a party, begging the doctor not to do it for some reason? He's spent the past three issues (not including three issues of Prometheus) trying to kill the good doctor and now he wants to "save" his creator. Then the sole surviving predator (who doesn't even have a cool scar or anything so I can give him a funny nickname) attacks Elden. . . Because he can. Despite the issue's dialogue actively arguing against this development. I don't know. I'm at a loss.
 The issue then ends on the line "What's happening!?" My thoughts exactly.

Next on "James Versus Fire and Stone. . . "
This story is so sloppy, so undercooked, it's incredible. It fails to address the most basic needs of its characters and their desires. If their motivations are present, they change on a dime. Or they just do stuff simply because the plot requires them to. It fails to establish anything. When there is action or a moment where the plot twists, it becomes meaningless because Christopher Sebela has failed to establish FUCK ALL ANYTHING. Some of that might have been tempered if Ariel Olivetti had bothered to show up, but I've been hammering that point home for two reviews now.

It feels like an issue of Axecop that got shelved for lack of ambition.

I'm so annoyed I can't even be bothered to pull the peel back on this onion. It's a stupid book. But beneath the stupidity there's nothing else. Alien is marked by themes about what makes up a human and what they are afraid of. Predator is dumb, but it has a cool invisible guy in it and there's some mildly interesting allegory going on. Prometheus is ostensibly about discovery the origins of humantiy and, indeed, the origins of our purpose and wraps that in a lost island adventure story. AvP is about raking in piles of stinking, sweat soaked nerd dollar and making a kind of come-hardened igloo of incompetence and rancor.

And I want to believe that there's a way to make this all work. Somehow. It wasn't always this terrible. At least I don't think it was. I love dumb stuff, too. There's a place for pulp. It just has to be done well and I don't know what that means for a comic as undercooked as this one. Maybe Joshua Williamson has got a few ideas.

At least I'm not reading Robocop Versus Terminator.

I just like these toys, that's all.
MUTANT OF THE WEEK: It's still the Frankenpredator. He's still hulking and stupid. But he's a Frankenpredator and he has two crabs wearing surgical gloves taped to his mouth. His hands have also sprouted extra fingers, making the prospect of giving the middle finger that much more frightening and complicated, as well as an Elden-esque shoulder arm that I assume he uses to hold very small cans of coke.

Also the doctor becomes a hulk. I'm going to name him “Dr. Hulk.”

But motherfuck Dr. Hulk right in his eyes. This entire story is his fault. The blind damn fool. I hate him so. I hate them all and I want this flaming honey wagon full of dog shit to finally crash and burn like the abomination that it is.

ONE OF OUT FIVE CHESTBURSTERS for this piss-poor issues and a BURKE YUPPIE VEST OF SHAME. Wear it well, AvP, because the only thing you've done well so far is take money from me. Like your yuppie forefather, Paul Reiser, you have fleeced me. You took money from my pocket knowing full well that your product was utterly without value.

Or, God, I hope you were fleecing me. What if somebody at the Dark Horse Aliens office actually thinks this shit is good?

You can read the previous installments of "James Versus Fire and Stone" below:
Aliens #3
Predator #2
Prometheus #3
Alien Versus Predator #2
Aliens #2
Predator #1
Alien #1 and Prometheus #1

James Kislingbury is a writer, a podcaster, and is looking for a solid lead on an MIP King Alien. Send him a line if you got one.