Aliens: Dead Orbit is a four-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from April-December 2017, with the first issue being released as part of Alien Day. It was also published simultaneously in the digital format via Dark Horse Digital. The story was written, illustrated, colored and lettered by James Stokoe, and edited by Daniel Chabon and Rachel Roberts, with cover art by Stokoe. Geof Darrow and Rafael Albuquerque also provided variant covers for the first issue.

Aliens: Dead Orbit takes place in 2295 CE on the Sphacteria, a Weyland-Yutani fuel depot/waystation in a rather forgotten and secluded part of space. The plot pits the crew of the Sphacteria against the deadly Xenomorph species, and much like the doomed crew of the Nostromo, their resources are limited. The story is told in media res; the first and last few pages of the issue take place after the events shown in the middle of the issue.

In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: Dead Orbit was preceded by Aliens: Life and Death, and was followed by Aliens: Dust to Dust.

Publisher's Summary[]

Original release[]

#1: After a horrific accident strikes a space station, an engineering officer must use all available tools — a timer, utility kit, and his wits — to survive an attack from the deadliest creature known to man.

#2: Having narrowly escaped the deadly Xenomorph, Wascylewski moves around the hold of the ship, wary of his terrifying pursuer. His reflexes are tested again — but this time, by a sudden, massive breach in the hull. Will he survive?

#3: Wascylewski survived the sudden breach in his ship's hull, but is in no better a situation: he comes to, cocooned tightly to the wall under the surveillance of the twin Xenomorphs. With only two hours left on his countdown timer and nowhere to go, he will have to pull out his final tricks in order to stay alive.

#4: With one last gambit aboard the space station, Wascylewski finds himself ambushed by two more deadly Xenomorphs that will stop at nothing until he's dead.

Aliens: Dead Orbit TPB[]

A Weyland-Yutani crew investigates an unmarked vessel in high orbit, containing a team in cryogenic sleep, a ship in ruins, and parasitic monster waiting to attack.


In the year 2295, within the depths of the crumbling fuel depot known as the Scphacteria, the disheveled Engineering Officer Wascylewski is sitting in the quarters of the observation deck alone. Before putting out his last of many cigarettes, he notices a terminal warning him that a threshold has been reached and requires immediate attention. Wassy puts on a compression suit, brings a case with him and takes a space walk across the station.

The comic goes into a flashback before the Sphacteria was in ruins; an unknown approaching vessel is noticed by the crew of the fuel depot orbiting the gas giant Pylos. Crewmember Park identifies that the ship is an old Wey-Yu freighter sold at auction to a private buyer, She also informs Captain Hassan that the ship contains Hypersleep chambers, and that the crew of presumed salvagers may still be in stasis. Communications Officer Rook is less than enthusiastic, believing that they may be pirates.

Hassan decides to board the unmarked vessel in their shuttle, alongside Park, Wascylewski Medical Officer Harrow and Security Officer Torrenson.


The passengers get burned alive.

The crew board the ship and explore its dilapidated interior, with Hassan calling it a "deathtrap". Wassy notices a massive hole through a wall, citing that something had melted through the bulkhead. As he catches up with the rest, the crew encounter three humans in hypersleep chambers: two male twins and a female. Wassy checks a terminal and observes that their vital signs seem normal. Hassan suggests waking them up, though Torrenson advises against it.


Park flips the switch but something goes awry. The coolant tank breaks and the chambers begin violently overheating, burning the members in stasis alive. The group panics and eventually manage to bludgeon the chambers open, bringing out the horribly charred and disfigured passengers, choking and gurgling and in a state of shock.

The comic flashes forward to Wassy removing his space suit after his walk and anxiously scouring the corridors of the Sphacteria. As he turns a corner, he hallucinates a Xenomorph, only for it to turn out to be a mesh of pipes and machinery. As he recovers from his scare, a loose cord blasts steam into his direction, covering his field of view. As Wascylewski looks into the smoke-covered corridor, a real Xenomorph emerges from the mist. Wassy drops the case and runs into the medbay to hide, sitting down next to the corpse of one of the burned salvagers.

The comic flashes back to Harrow desperately trying to treat the convulsing patients and is forced to give them sedatives. Wassy grabs a bottle of alcohol and attempts to leave for his quarters, but Hassan stops him and orders him to begin deciphering the ship's systems. Wassy subsequently recovers data that reveals that the ship's last entry had them exchanging supplies for Chinese Yuan, with only frontier colonies in desolate space (to which Rook heard rumors of a "cholera outbreak") still using the currency. Wassy deduces to to the others that if the crew initiated emergency procedures aboard the ship, then the vessel would have autopiloted them to the nearest corporate location, in this case, the Sphacteria. Additionally, he identifies that the ship originally contained eight crewmembers, not three.


The crew witness the birthing of a Chestburster.

Park suddenly contacts Hassan, telling him that she and Harrow need immediate help. As Hassan and the others return to the med bay, they are met with Park and Harrow attempting to hold down the seizing twins, who had already been given a full dosage of sedatives. Suddenly, two Chestbursters erupt from them, and the others watch in horror as the creatures escape from the med bay and into the depths of the station.

The comic flashes forward again, and Wassy realizes that he forgot the case after his encounter with the Alien and goes back to retrieve it, securing it to himself with medical tape. A sudden hull breach results in him having to perform an emergency override and seal the bulkhead, but not before losing enough air to pass out. As he reawakens, he sees two Aliens by his side, one dragging him by foot down a corridor, before losing consciousness again.


Wassy in the hive.

When Wassy comes to, he finds himself cocooned in a nest next to an unconscious Hassan while the two Aliens watch over the both of them. Wassy has a flashback to when the adult creatures recently emerged.

It is established that following Rook's disappearance, Hassan is also snatched into a vent in front of the remaining groups very eyes. Park, Torrenson and Wassy all start weighing up their odds of survival. A panicked Torrenson wants to take a shuttle and retreat into the scavenger's vessel until rescue arrives whilst Park is concerned about Rook and Hassan still being alive.


The salvager holding Harrow hostage.

After a heated argument, the group decide to check up on Harrow, still in the med-bay surveying the last remaining passenger. The three hear a crash and rush to the med-bay where they are greeted with the fully awake female salvager holding Harrow hostage with a scalpel by his neck. Park attempts to calm her down whilst Torrenson suddenly lunges at her with a Stun Baton. She is able to dodge him, however, and Torrenson stumbles into one of the operating tables, revealing one of the twins' corpses to the female. In a state of shock and rage, she brutally slits Harrow's throat and runs away. After Harrow bleeds out in Park's arms, the rest attempt to catch the female passenger. The group are too late, and they watch on as she takes the shuttle and leaves the station. The shuttle's umbilical however, is still attached, causing it to be propelled back into the Sphacteria, violently crashing into it.

The comic returns to the hive, with one of the Aliens moving towards Wassy. Laughter in the distance suddenly lures both creatures away, allowing Wassy to break free and escape the nest with the case he originally set out for. He looks back at Harrow, still unconscious and cocooned, and reluctantly leaves him. Wassy follows the sound of the laughter until he finds a delirious Torrenson, right before the two Aliens he purposely lured out emerge from the darkness behind him.


Torrenson lures out the Xenomorphs.

A final flashback shows Wassy, Torrenson and Park in the aftermath of the shuttle colliding with the Sphacteria. The three rush to the cargo hold, in which Wassy retrieves a case. The case, that was so important to Wassy in prior flashbacks, is revealed to contain mining charges, the crew's last hope for survival. Wassy intends to lock everyone in life support and "blow the struts from the main deck"; since the station itself is modular, they'll be able to use the module as a psuedo-lifeboat and wait for rescue. Park suddenly hears a noise within the darkness of the cargo bay, and a Xenomorph suddenly emerges and attacks the group. Torrenson, traumatized, runs from the scene. Wassy and Park retreat to the observation deck in hopes of solace, and Wassy begins closing the bulkhead, telling Park to hurry. Suddenly, a second Xenomorph emerges. Wassy looks on in horror and despair as the two Aliens incapacitate and kill Park as the bulkhead is sealed, bringing the plot into full circle from where it began.

Back in the present, Wassy runs away from the two Xenomorphs as Torrenson is killed. He reaches life support, puts on a compression suit from a locker and prepares the mining charges. Ready to take leave, he notices a bag containing a spare box of cigarettes in the locker. Wascylewski gives into weakness and takes them with him, before an Alien bursts from a ventilation shaft above him and attacks him. In a fit of confusion, Wassy pulls at the bag which accidentally brings the whole locker down onto the Xenomorph. This buys him enough time to detonate a charger and blow a wall into the ship, bringing him into the atmosphere of space. Wassy's compression suit allows him to stick to the surface of the station, but the pursuing Alien emerges. As the creature closes in, Wassy detonates another charge, separating the life support module from the station. As Wassy hooks himself onto the module to stop himself slipping away into space, the Alien emerges yet again from the smoke, this time missing an arm with acid blood dripping everywhere.


Wassy embracing his last few hours of life.

Wassy realizes this and unlocks a chamber containing several oxygen tanks. Wassy holds one up in front of the approaching creature and it's acid blood, floating through space, collides with the tank, blowing Wassy away and the Alien into space.

Inside the module, now drifting aimlessly in desolate space, Wassy breathes a sigh of relief and takes out his pack of cigarettes. A terminal nearby suddenly warns that oxygen levels are critical and begins a countdown, starting at 04:02:56. Wassy, alone, smokes his last pack as the timer slowly counts down.


Reprint History[]

Dark Horse Comics[]

Aliens: Dead Orbit was collected and released as a trade paperback on March 21, 2018. As well as the four issues of the comic, the trade paperback also included some of James Stokoe's original pitch artwork and information on his initial concept for the story, which differed quite notably from the finished product. The collected edition reused Stokoe's cover artwork from issue 1.

The series was collected again as a hardcover, "oversized" (8 × 12) format trade paperback, released on May 7, 2019. The release features new cover art by Stokoe.

Marvel Comics[]

Following Marvel Comics' acquisition of the rights to Alien comic books, the comic was collected as part of Marvel's Aliens: The Original Years Volume 4 collection, alongside many other later Dark Horse stories. The collection was released on March 14, 2023.

Behind the Scenes[]

Aliens: Dead Orbit was one of the comics selected to be a part of Dark Horse Comics' 30th anniversary variant cover program — issue 1 received a special variant cover by Geof Darrow.

Aliens: Dead Orbit #1 was released on April 26, 2017, alongside Aliens: Defiance #11 and Prometheus: Life and Death - Final Conflict, as part of Alien Day.



Issue covers[]

Variant covers[]



External links[]