25 February, 2015

This is How it Ends

A Review of Prometheus: Omega
Part Sixteen of "James Versus Fire and Stone"

I was going to say that “Fire and Stone has been a real shit show,” but then I realized that calling it such terms doesn't do it justice. The real value of Fire and Stone is that it's been a learning experience for me. This comes on the heels of me realizing some things about my “career” (which is a term that needs some bold quotation marks). Fire and Stone hasn't pointed me towards this exactly, but one thing I've learned, or at least one thing that has really codified a philosophy I've been developing for some time. Basically, I realized that as bad as something might be, it's not my job to fix it. And it's certainly not my job to fix it for free. As flawed as Prometheus might be as a comic and as just plain incompetent as Alien Versus Predator is, it's not my job to sit there and think of ways that I could make this better.

Because that's a sucker's game.

And that bums me out. I should be the target of internet vitriol. I should be the one with snarky blog posts aimed at me. I should be the one losing sleep to meet a deadline on a book that nobody will remember in two years time. I'm not saying that a “creator” is inherently better than a “critic” (they aren't, just tell me that Roger Ebert hasn't contributed more to art and civilization than Uwe Boll). I've just been struck by this general sense that I need to do more. Whatever that means.

Maybe I should thank each and every book in the Fire and Stone line-up. It wasn't the straw that broke the camel's back, but it has pushed me. In different ways, each one of these books has pushed me to be a better writer. Maybe.

Anyways, with all of that said, when I found out that Fire and Stone was seventeen parts and not sixteen, I know I groaned. I must have. There's no other sane response to finding out that I'm going to get suckered out of another four bucks on a self-imposed dare. All of that said, this last book came as something of a surprise. Because, Blimey. Prometheus: Omega is really, really good.

Omega is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, she of Pretty Deadly and Bitch Planet (which shares the same pulpy/political DNA that made up the first three Alien movies). That should have told me that this was going to be an excellent book. Of course nobody told me this. It's nice to be pleasantly surprised, though. As much as Pretty Deadly is most certainly not my thing, she is a writer with a point of view and a set of skills that I like to see put to work. There's also this tinge of liberal guilt in the back of my head telling me that it's nice that women are writing more comics and that these comics are good (I'm currently reading a trade of the new Ms. Marvel run. It's so good, guys). There's no inherent value to that, I suppose, but it's nice. And it certainly can't be any worse than the men who worked on AvP.

Agustin Alessio deliver some solid work as the book's artist. Like the artist behind Prometheus, Alessio delivers a painterly quality that gives the work a level of class that you don't see in a lot of other books. Often when you see this style of work in a comic, it ends up being a series of good looking pictures that, when put together form a bad comic book (the companion to this phenomenon would be when a screenwriter or a novelist tries their hand at making a comic). Fortunately, that isn't the case.

Alessio's work isn't perfect, though. His work does lack some of the impact and the kinetics of Mooneyham had on Predator (a very different book, but one with a steady hand behind the art). Yet, conversely, therein lies its strength. His work isn't fantastical. It isn't showy. It's grounded and it gives the story the kind of weight that a horror (or adventure) story like this should have. The world of Prometheus: Omega looks less like a comic version of an alien planet than it does an alien planet. Tonally, it shares the most similarities with Patric Reynolds's work, which couldn't look more different stylistically.

I like it a lot is what I'm saying. I'm sorry I lack the vocabulary for writing about art. I should work on that.

MUTANT OF THE WEEK: Dare I say. . . It's Elden.

That's right. Elden: My Most Hated of Characters. Elden the Abomination. Elden the Plot Device That Just Won't Die. Elden the Least. He's kind of great in this. As listless and silly as he's been in the hands of other writers, DeConnick actually manages to put him into the right place at the right time and turn out a corker of a story.

As I say this, keep this in mind: There is a mutant mountain full of alien juice that the team has to escape from. Elden, for his achievements in this book, is cooler than a living piece of the planet- Cooler than an actual xenomorph as defined in the dictionary.

Then again, Elden's final scene is him becoming a Giger tapestry. How can anything in the world compete with that?

Nothing to do with the topic at hand.
I'm just excited for this movie.
After a long spell in the cold, it's a relief that I can give Prometheus: Omega FIVE OUT OF FIVE CHESTBURSTERS. It's nice to see something this well put together cap it off the only miniseries event that I've ever partaken in. I'm glad it's over, but I'm also glad for the few highlights cut inbetween the crap. Omega is a rare beam of light.

As a stand alone comic it also works. It's well written. It's funny. It's weird. It's good looking. Like Predator, it's everything a comic book should be and, even better, it's everything this particular comic should be.

If you have any affection at all towards Prometheus, Aliens, Predator, or any combination there of, this is a comic you should pick up. Or you should just pick it up because Kelly Sue DeConnick is a talented lady who deserves your adoration and dollars. If Fire and Stone only provided her (and the team on Aliens and on Predator) a forum for more people to see them, then perhaps it was worth it.

Perhaps. . . 

You can read all of "James Versus Fire and Stone" here! There! It's all there! Read it!
Alien Versus Predator #4
Predator #3
Aliens #4
Prometheus #4
Alien Versus Predator #3
Aliens #3
Predator #2
Prometheus #3
Alien Versus Predator #2
Aliens #2
Predator #1
Alien #1 and Prometheus #1

James Kislingbury is basically over it.