When James Cameron's Aliens was released in 1986, it was a sequel nobody knew that its better than the first. It was different, it was action-oriented and science-fiction has become a whole other level of entertainment. Fans wanted more and before 20th Century Fox release Alien 3 in 1992, there was the comics. At the height of it all, the 1980s and the 1990s comics has found a new kind of voice and with this new voice, they found a different kind of audience. So when Dark Horse Comics acquire the rights to release the sequel to Aliens in comic format, fans were thrilled and the released of Aliens issue 1 of 6 in July 1st, 1988, it became an instant bestseller! The rest, is history.
I have been waiting for a collection that I wanted to get my hands on as I am an Aliens fan (shamefully, not the biggest) and I love most of what Aliens are. The comic books, on the other hand, another matter. After I missed out my chance to collect the omnibus editions (which I had heard the binding was bad), the re-released of Aliens for this edition was something I look forward to. Aliens: The Essential Comics Vol.1 collects the first three books (Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum & Earth War) that became the trilogy of the sequel that follows up from Aliens. Sadly, I was disappointed by its execution. The story is mediocre. It wasn't any thing mind-blowing nor explore much of the universe that started from Ripley Scotts vision based on a story by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett. It was... boring. The first, which was Outbreak, had more words that can drive any comic book readers to become in a confuse state manner. There are too many things going around - a cult form over the alien sentient, a military corporation wanting the xenomorphs as a weapon, Newt (all grown up) felt abandoned and betrayed and lost and declared insane, Hicks, fueled with hatred against the aliens that killed his friends and a whole other supporting characters, which later made a mess of the whole arch. Then, the philosophy involvement of what truly happen that relates to the first movie, became a downfall to the first book.
The sequel, which was called then Book II (Nightmare Asylum) is no different. The approach is a little less whining but the content is no different with the exception of the return of Ripley. Remember, this was still before Alien 3. Then came the final arch story with Earth War, and every thing else, falls apart. It wasn't a good closure but it was a closure that marks Mark Verheiden ending his trilogy. Art wise, only Denis Beauvais is worth mentioning here. I didn't like Mark A. Nelson and Sam Keith art work at all.
The Essential Comics Volume 1 edition collects the first three books. The binding of the book is firm but its also easily creates a line at the bind. Paper quality wise is smooth. Its a book that's has its quality to savor for. Overall, I do like the cover and the universe of Aliens, even though the writing is terrible. This is truly a comic book trade paperback dedicated to fans who want more of Aliens.