Aliens: Colonial Marines is a 10-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics irregularly from January 1993-July 1994. Over the course of its run, numerous different individuals worked on the series — it was written by Chris Warner, Kelley Puckett, Paul Guinan and Dan Jolley; pencilled by Tony Akins, Allen Nunis and John Nadeau; inked by Guinan, Terry Pallot, Ande Parks, John Del, Bob Smith, Jim McDermott and Jordi Ensign; colored by Matt Hollingsworth, Pamela Rambo and Doug Jones; lettered by Clem Robins; and edited by Randy Stradley and Dan Thorsland. The series featured cover art by Robert Mentor and Joe Phillips.

The story takes place after the destruction of Charon Base. It focuses on a rag-tag unit of Colonial Marines investigating Xenomorph-related activities in a backwater sector of space and waging war against a mysterious terrorist cult of human/Xenomorph hybrids loosely referred to as the "Bug-Men". The series also featured the appearance of the first relative of a character from the Alien film series in the form of Carmen Vasquez, younger sister of the eminently popular Private Jenette Vasquez from the film Aliens.

In Dark Horse's Aliens comics line, Aliens: Colonial Marines was preceded by Aliens: Horror Show. In the midst of what was undoubtedly Dark Horse's most active year of Aliens output, it was published concurrently with Aliens: Earth Angel, Aliens: Rogue, Aliens: Sacrifice, Alien3: Terminal Addiction, Aliens: Taste, Aliens: Crusade, Aliens: Backsplash, Aliens: Labyrinth, Aliens: Salvation, Aliens: Cargo, Aliens: Alien, Aliens: Music of the Spears, Operation: Aliens and Aliens: Stronghold; the unreleased comic Aliens: Matrix was also due to be published concurrently. After its conclusion, Aliens: Colonial Marines was followed by Aliens: Frenzy.

Publication History and Changed Plans[]

The ambitious series was originally intended to run for 12 issues, with the cover numbering on the early issues reflecting as much, but during production the final two issues were cancelled. Starting with issue 8, the numbering was altered to reflect the new run of 10 issues. The initial plan seems to have been to run the comic as a series of 3-issue arcs, each created by a different writer/artist team, but this arrangement soon deteriorated, with numerous creative team shifts later in the run and several mid-run delays. The somewhat sprawling story was also concluded and wrapped up relatively abruptly by a new creative team in the last two issues.

For issues 1-3, Colonial Marines was written by Chris Warner, pencilled by Tony Akins and inked by Paul Guinan. Iconic painted cover art was provided by artist Robert Mentor (with two of the covers focusing on Private Carmen Vasquez, sister of Jenette Vasquez from Aliens). Issue 1 was edited by Randy Stradley and Dan Thorsland, while issues 2-10 were edited solely by Thorsland.

For the second three-issue story arc, issues 4-6 were written by Kelley Puckett and pencilled by Allen Nunis, with painted covers by new cover artist Joe Phillips. Each of the three issues was inked by a different team — issue 4 was inked by Ande Parks and Terry Pallot, issue 5 was inked by John Del, while issue 6 was inked Bob Smith. The series was released monthly through to issue 5 in May 1993, but this was followed by a three-month hiatus, with issue 6 not hitting shelves until August.

The stand-alone issue 7 was written and inked by Guinan and pencilled by Akins. It again featured cover art by Mentor, and came out in the following month of September 1993. It was followed by an another long break, this time lasting five months, that ended with the release of the next issue in February 1994.

Issue 8 was written by Puckett, pencilled by John Nadeau, inked by Jim McDermott and again featured covert art by Phillips.

Finally, Issues 9-10 were created by the concluding creative team of writer Dan Jolley, penciller Nadeau and inker Jordi Ensign, with covers by Phillips. Issue 9 was released in April and issue 10 was released in July 1994.

Colorists for the series were somewhat more stable, with Matt Hollingsworth (#1-5), Pamela Rambo (#6-8) and Doug Jones (#9-10) handling the colors. The only constant member of the creative team was letterer Clem Robins.

Publisher's Summary[]

#1: Meet Lt. Joseph Henry; the son of one of the most influential politicians on Earth, a proud member of the United States Colonial Marine Corps, and a poor slob in a heap of trouble. Lt. Henry, after yet again being charged with insubordination, is put in command of a platoon of the absolute worst Marines in the sector and assigned the lowest detail in the corp — checking up on a toxic waste dump! What Lt. Henry and company don't know is that this mission is about to go from bad to worse, because a strangely organized batch of Aliens has taken over the waste dump!

#2: Private Carmen Vasquez has joined the corp and is working hard to become as tough as her legendary big sister. What Carmen and the rest of her platoon don't know is that their mission will bring them face-to-face with the terror that took her sister's life, and has haunted her dreams ever since... ALIENS! Take a gruesome tour of a derelict space station with a group of Aliens who know the meaning of Semper Fi!

#3: Lt. Henry and his crew of ne'er-do-wells are — to put it simply — in the soup. Stranded in a space station with a pack of bloodthirsty Aliens waiting behind every access hatch, this platoon of Colonial Marines will leave no shell unfired in their struggle to survive. And as the pulse-fire echoes through the corridors, a hideous plan of mutating humans into Aliens is uncovered, leading Lt. Henry to wonder if this is more than just a random infestation.

#4: After barely escaping the rail-gun station known as the Sun Gun, our not-so-happy band of Marines is looking forward to a little R&R on the backwater (and we do mean water) planet Bracken's World. Guess again! The mysterious "father" from last issue has already established a foothold on the dreary little planet, and isn't about to let Lt. Henry interfere with his schemes. Get ready for aquatic action and intrigue as our hapless heroes are betrayed from within by the only person that can save them!

#5: Our merry band of Marines has holed up in the only major city on Bracken's World, and as Lt. Henry attempts to rally the local colonists against the approaching Alien army, he begins to suspect Beliveau's real reason for being on this mission. After all, why would a high-powered Company man have any interest in such a remote section of the galaxy? Does Beliveau hold the secret to the bizarre Alien/human hybrid they captured at the railgun station? Could he even be responsible for these well-organized Alien attacks? Intrigue, action, and rusty rooftops — what more could you want?

#6: The showdown on Bracken's World comes to a skull-crunching climax as Marines and colonists go toe-to-toe with the forces of the maniacal Bug-Men. And lest you think we would forgo plot development for the sake of action — Beliveau fesses up as to the identity of the enigmatic "father" of the Bug-Men! The plot is thickening quickly, folks, so don't miss this pivotal issue!

#7: Stranded in a remote sector of space with only a Dropship for transportation, Lt. Henry strikes an uneasy deal with Beliveau, the secretive company man who has many hidden, deadly agendas.

In return for the aid of the Colonial Marines, Beliveau leads Henry to an Alphatech storage facility piled high with state-of-the-art weapons designed to "eliminate" Aliens. The hardware will indeed come in handy, but the sole occupants of the complex — outdated maintenance robots — are already using them to ward off the latest Alien incursion!

#8: Armed with prototype weapons and a powered-up Dropship, Lt. Henry begins the final assault against the Alien menace. While he is planning his strategy, his crew is succumbing to strange withdrawal symptoms, and the ones still on their feet are plotting mutiny!

Henry's only hope is to reprogram Liston, the high-powered synthetic, to follow his every command — even if it means killing a human being. The air is thick with tension, and a traitor will step out of the darkness with a gun in his hand and murder in his heart. A guaranteed shocker!

#9: This is it: the endgame! Lt. Henry has tracked the "father" of the Alien forces — a rogue colonel pursuing a mad dream of cosmic purity — to a subspace communications relay, and plans an all-out assault against him! His command is weak, the Marines around him are planning mutiny at the first opportunity, and now the captive "bugman" is beginning to mutate into something that will shock the entire crew! Lt. Joseph Henry has never taken the easy path, and this time it just may kill him!

#10: The pulse-pounding conclusion to this action-packed series! Face to face with the deadly leader of this system-wide Alien infestation, Lt. Henry begins a suicide mission to fulfill his mad obsession: to kill the "father" of the Aliens, no matter what the cost.


Reprint History[]

Dark Horse Comics[]

In the United Kingdom, Aliens: Colonial Marines was planned to be serialized and reprinted in 24 parts in Aliens magazine. However, the cancellation of the magazine left the rerun unfinished after 12 installments (in Aliens magazine, Vol. 2 #9-22, from March 1993-April 1994).

The comic eventually collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 2 in December 2007.

The complete comic was released digitally through Dark Horse Digital on February 27, 2013, using a piece of Dave Dorman artwork from Aliens: Tribes as cover art.

Marvel Comics[]

Following Marvel Comics' acquisition of the rights to Alien comic books, the series was collected as part of Marvel's Aliens: The Original Years Volume 2 collection, alongside many other early Dark Horse stories. The collection was released in January 2022.

Behind the Scenes[]

Prior to release, a short preview of the comic was published in Dark Horse Insider, Vol. 2 #12.

Several members of the production team behind Aliens: Colonial Marines had previously been the principle contributors to the similarly-named Aliens: Space Marines mini-comics sold exclusively with Aliens and Aliens vs. Predator toys from Kenner. This includes writer Dan Jolley, artists Joe Phillips and John Nadeau, and editor Dan Thorsland.


  • Aliens: Colonial Marines featured a number of firsts for the Aliens comic book universe:
    • It is the first comic book to depict Xenomorphs adapting to their environment based on the animals in which they gestate (a concept first depicted by Alien3); in this case, the seafaring Aliens of the planet Bracken's World.
    • The comic also portrays the mutagenic effects of the Queen's Royal Jelly on humans.
    • Colonial Marines introduces the first black synthetic in the form of the shop steward.
    • Finally, it introduces the Xenomorph-killing mercenary Herk Mondo in issue #6. Mondo would go on to star in two stories of his own in following years (Aliens: Mondo Pest and Aliens: Mondo Heat).
  • Continuity-wise, the comic contains references to events and characters from numerous other Aliens comics stories, both past and concurrent, including Outbreak, Nightmare Asylum, Female War, Rogue, Newt's Tale, Labyrinth and others.
  • A letters page was included in the original issues, along with occasional supplemental material such as character pre-production sketches and diagrams of some of the new vehicles featured.
  • There is some differences between single comic issues and the digital version:
    • In issue 1, one of the Marine is named Carrano while in issue 4 and 5 he is named Cerrano as in Tony Atkins sketchs. This have been corrected as Carrano in the digital version.
    • The numerous use of the word "Shit" is absent from the digital version. For example, when Corchiani realize that the situation going awry he says "Shit Shit Shit Shit!!!!". It has been changed in the digital version replacing "Shit" by "No"
    • In issue 3, when the Marines are stuck in the Zero-G well one of them says "They tore that bulkhead like toilet paper!". The word "toilet" was removed from the digital version.
    • Still in issue 3 when Xenomorphs were ejected in space, Boston tells Beliveau to look at the monitor, and Beliveau says "It has to be Bradshaw's doing! He's been waiting for me!". For unknown reasons the quote has completely disappeared from the digital version, despite being rather essential to the plot.
    • In issue 5, there is two pages, one about a kelp harvester captain and another one about Beech savoring jelly in the Melville, in the digital version that missed from the original issue.

      Star Wars Probe Droid (lower right)

  • During the Joliet Mining Facility arc, there is a small hovering droid bearing a striking ressemblance with Star Wars Viper Probe Droid.


  • In issue 1, the chief stevedore Osborne is a woman while in the panel where the stevedores are attacked by Xeno Osborne's face is clearly masculine.
  • In issue 2, Henry takes Maryland and Bateman to sweep the Sun Gun and they find Dinkel hiding in a locker. In the next issue, however, there is an additional unnamed Marine with them who is then killed by Xenomorphs.
  • At the end of issue 3, Nyland states the mission to the Sung Gun suffered three casualties, yet four Marines were seen to die — Bateman, Koo, Berganza and the unnamed individual above.
  • On the final page of issue 3, dialog refers to the human captive being brought before the Father as Corchiani, but the person depicted looks a lot more like his second-in-command Emardt (who died in issue 1).
  • Cvercko, seemingly a major character during the initial Sun Gun arc and start of the Bracken's World arc, completely disappears from the story after issue 7. Although he may have been killed off-screen or remained behind on Bracken's World in subsequent issues, it seems more likely that he was forgotten during the constant creative team re-shuffling.
  • Neither Dinkel nor Chen appear in the final issue despite being aboard the dropship in the previous issue with the rest of the cast.
  • There is an additional, unnamed Marine — a dark-haired man with a moustache — who appears inconsistently throughout the series. He first appears in issue 4, has a line of dialogue ("Looks like shore leave is over, man.") in issue 5, then disappears for issue 7, reappears in issues 8 and 9, then disappears again for the final issue. Furthermore, his skin color changes depending on the issue. Notably, this character is also absent from the sketches of the "still breathing" Marines printed early on in the letters page.
  • The reveal of 'The Father' being Ernst Kleist makes little sense, as Kleist almost certainly perished at the end of Aliens: Rogue, when the sound cannon he was using overloaded and exploded. Even assuming he somehow survived being at ground zero of that massive explosion, The Father has two (clearly organic) arms, while Kleist had one ripped off at the shoulder shortly before his "death". The Father being Paul Church, as previously hinted, makes far more sense (indeed, Church is a loose end the comics otherwise never tie up), but it is unknown if The Father's planned identity was changed during the multiple creative team re-shuffle or if Church was always planned to be a red herring and an explanation for Kleist's survival was left out.


Issue covers[]