Alien vs. Predator: Thicker Than Blood is a four-issue limited comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics from December 2019-March 2020. It was published simultaneously in the digital format via Dark Horse Digital. The story was written by Jeremy Barlow, illustrated by Doug Wheatley, colored by Rain Beredo, lettered by Michael Heisler, and edited by Randy Stradley and Judy Khuu, with cover art by Chun Lo.
The plot centers around a young girl named Maria and her android 'brother' Tyler, both passengers aboard luxury starship Double Down. When the ship is boarded and terrorized by a family of Yautja, the siblings fight to escape while evading both the Yautja and a lone Xenomorph that the hunters had held captive aboard their own ship.
The publication of the series was interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, entering a hiatus after the first two issues went on sale. Following this, the rights to publish Alien vs. Predator comic books moved from Dark Horse Comics to Marvel Comics, further affecting the release of Thicker Than Blood. Ultimately, Dark Horse confirmed that while the series would be completed, the remaining single issues would not be published, and instead the series would conclude with its trade paperback release in November 2020.
#1: If the Predators don't get you, the Alien will! Predators board a luxury charter spaceship, unleashing a path of terror and bloodshed. An adolescent girl and her younger brother are the last to survive, and begin a cat-and-mouse chase with the attackers. They hope for an escape, but they haven't counted on the Alien...
#2: With nowhere left to run but into the Predators' ship, every turn leads Maria and Tyler deeper into danger — until they discover a captive Xenomorph. Could the Alien be the weapon to tip the scales in their favor, or will they find themselves caught in a crossfire?
#3: Two kids, trapped aboard a crippled space liner with both a Predator and an Alien hunting them. They have only each other on which to depend, and getting even one of them out alive will require a sacrifice...
#4: The action-packed finale! Maria and the Predator make their final, harrowing stand against the Alien. But in a pact with the Predator, safety is never guaranteed.
The luxury spacecraft USSC Double Down enters an unknown sector of space, and is subsequently boarded by a Yautja Mother Ship for entering their territory. Child-android Tyler is contacted by captain of the ship and, 'mother', Lydia, to retrieve his sister, Maria, take her to the escape shuttle Tender, and then meet with them in the forward lounge, before being briskly cut off.
Tyler enters the artificial beach lido-deck and finds Maria. Tyler was initially created as a playmate for Maria when she was an infant, but Maria, now a precocious and bratty adolescent, has grown tired of Tyler's company and finds his presence annoying. Before Tyler could finish explaining himself, a maroon-skinned Predator emerges on the beach and begins slaughtering the civilians with a plasma-whip. The two psuedo-siblings run from the lido-deck and into the forward lounge, where they reunite with their parents.
Whilst discussing their options, an Elder Predator suddenly emerges from the shadows and kills the father. Lydia, shocking the creature with a stun-baton, buys the children enough time for them to enter the elevator and escape before being killed. The Predator suddenly jams its arm and leg into the elevator door and attempts to pry it open, but after the siblings work together, they bisect the creatures' limbs by closing the door. After an argument, the two escape and reach the airlock to the Tender which is being inconveniently blocked off by the Predator ship's boarding ramp. The two decide to board the Predator ship, and encounter a Predator with a wrist-mounted flamethrower gleefully torturing a captive Xenomorph.
Tyler and Maria enter the ship's deck and Tyler attempts to access the controls, before being electrocuted by its handprint countermeasures, alerting the Predator. With its back turned, the chained Xenomorph pounces onto the Predator and brutally kills it, before managing to free itself from its constraints. Tyler deduces that they would need one of the Predator's arms to properly access the ship, and could use the one bisected from the elevator.
Meanwhile, the maroon Predator encounters the fallen Elder, still alive. He subsequently uses his whip to amputate and seal the mangled limbs.
The children leave the ship and briefly encounter the ship Lieutenant, Denver, who intends to blow up the ramp with explosives from the geo-lab. They return to the forward lounge, where they witness the maroon Predator battle the loose Xenomorph. As they drag the unconscious body of the amputated Predator into the elevator, the Xenomorph defeats and decapitates its foe.
The siblings take the amputated hunter to the lido-deck and try to reason with him, ultimately giving up. Maria eventually reconciles with Tyler, and realizes that he has always been by her side, not only as a brother and playmate but as a foster too. As the two share an embrace, the Elder approaches them from behind, offering them a truce to kill the Xenomorph running amok within the ship.
The three travel to the med-center, and Maria manages to attach a prosthetic leg to the Elder. They subsequently go to the geo-lab to find Denver, only to notice that he had been killed by the Xenomorph, who is currently distracted chasing Denver's parrot. Tyler tries to locate the bombs and the trigger, but the creature notices the others and attacks them. Tyler distracts the creature with a harpoon gun and sacrifices himself to buy the Predator time to escape with the protesting Maria. However, after ripping Tyler to shreds, the Alien promptly catches up with them and attacks the Predator. A brutal battle ensues, and Maria manages to support the hunter using the retrieved wrist-flamethrower. She throws the Elder the plasma whip, and he finally manages to kill the creature with it. Maria, exhausted from the chaos, passes out.
Maria later awakens at the entrance to the Tender, revealing that the Elder stayed true to his word and carried her there, additionally retrieving Tyler's body. With his debt repaid, the Elder enters his ship and leaves as Maria boards the shuttle.
Within the shuttle, Maria has Tyler partially repaired and informs him that they are close to the nearest safe harbour. Tyler is put into stasis as Maria reminisces on her reinvigorated love and appreciation for her little brother.
- Thicker Than Blood was the first stand-alone Alien vs. Predator comic series in over a decade — the two preceding comics, Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone and Alien vs. Predator: Life and Death, both formed part of a multi-series crossover with the Aliens, Predator and Prometheus lines, while prior to that, Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War was a direct sequel to Aliens: More Than Human and Predator: Prey to the Heavens. Thus the last AVP story to stand on its own and bear no connection to any of the other lines in the universe was Alien vs. Predator: Civilized Beasts, published in April 2008.
- The series was also the last Predator comic to be published by Dark Horse Comics.
- An interview with Jeremy Barlow revealed that the three Predators within the story were a family, and are named Hook, Splitter and Pig Iron.
- "AVPGalaxy - Dark Horse Comics – What’s Still Coming and What is Cancelled". Retrieved on 2020-08-26.