|"Aliens: Berserker" links here. For the novel, see Aliens: Berserker (novel).|
Aliens: Frenzy, originally titled Aliens: Berserker, is a four-part limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from January-April 1995. It was written by John Wagner, pencilled by Paul Mendoza, inked by Andy Mushynsky, colored by Cary Porter, lettered by Steve Dutro, and edited by Edward Martin III, Ryder Windham and Marilee Hord, with cover art by Kilian Plunkett.
#1: There's a ship cutting through space like a bullet, its crew a five-man surgical strike team with a single mission: Destroy Aliens! But when the crew members of the Nemesis land smack in the middle of a full-blown hive, they're not sure if it's the answer to their prayers or the beginning of a nightmare!
#2: The Nemesis team hunts and destroys Alien hives: small, medium, or large. But Terminal 949 carried a crew of nearly a thousand people, and that makes it the biggest hive in history. It would be a touch-and-go situation even with a properly functioning Berserker unit, and their particular slaughter-machine has been showing some... problems... lately. No back-up, no cavalry, and no hope, but there's one slim chance they can make it out alive — if they're willing to make the ultimate sacrifice!
#3: The crew of space station Nemesis face off against the mother of all hives in a barrel-blazing, thermonuclear, blow-out bonanza! Their outer space paradise has been infested, and this issue they unload all they've got to make a clean sweep of the station. But the bugs apparently aren't the only problem in paradise: a traitor walks among them! Can they blow away the bugs and keep the knives out of their backs, or is paradise lost?
#4: It's down to the wire now and with more casualties than firepower, the crew of the Nemesis find themselves hip deep in trouble and watching the next load coming! Their Berserker unit is a slug of cold, dead steel and their only hope lies in the direction they least expect. Don't miss this mile-a-minute, slash-and-burn finale to the most pyrokinetic Aliens adventure ever!
After a successful operation quelling a Xenomorph infestation within a mining facility, Izzard, USCM commander of a Weyland-Yutani 'hunter/killer' squad, known as a "Max Team", is contacted by company executive Alan Grigson, informing them of a large infestation within the space station DS Service Terminal 949 that needs eradicating.
Reluctantly, Izzard diverts their ship Nemesis in search of the terminal. Among Izzard's crew are convicted volunteers Martin Jess, the eccentric Pulaski and the weary Teape, as well as the young and bright-eyed technician, Brian Ellis, and Lieutenant Katherine Lara, who shared a past relationship with Izzard. Their ace in the hole, however, is the Berserker combat unit, Max, a human constrained to a heavily armed exo-suit that, upon activation from comatose, has his body injected with a potent mixture of stimulants, causing him to go into a drug-induced rampage and destroy anything in his path, notably Xenos.
The squad board the terminal, with Lara accompanying them to fix the communications network. They are met with a desolate and empty interior littered with human and Xeno corpses alike. Lara carries out the necessary patch and the team regroups aboard the Nemesis, fighting off several Xenomorphs on their way out.
A check of the surveillance system reveals that the station has been totally overrun and that there cannot possibly be any survivors — nonetheless, Grigson informs Izzard that the station is to not only be cleansed and reclaimed intact rather than destroyed with a nuclear strike, but to be done so without USCM assistance, a feat that the ground team consider impossible given their small numbers.
The crew begin their unfortunate mission and start clearing out the terminal, whilst Ellis escorts a comatose Max closer to the hive. Lara, however, notices Max's waning life-signs, a fatal side-affect of an over-dosage of chemicals fed into him. Suddenly, a communications breakdown ensues, and a horde of Xenomorphs attack Jess, Teape and Pulaski. Lara rushes aboard to try and fix the problem; she is again attacked by a Facehugger in the command center, just barely managing to seal the creature inside a refrigerator unit before getting the comms systems back on line. Meanwhile, Pulaski is impaled and killed by a Xenomorph, and Teape and Jess are taken to the creature's hive. Ellis is ordered to activate Max, but the latter subsequently dies from a chemical overdose.
With few options left, Ellis removes Max's corpse from the exo-suit and establishes a manual neurological link with the machine, a needle violently inserted into the back of Ellis' head. With full control over Max, Ellis blasts his way into the hive, killing the Queen and saving Jess, but accidentally killing Teape who was facehugged and killed by acid blood in the crossfire.
With the mission a dud, Izzard also comes aboard DS 949, cornering Lara in the command center. He sets a nuclear bomb to destroy the station with Jess and Ellis trapped inside, intending to destroy the station and cover the company's tracks. Izzard attempts to have Lara join him and rekindle their relationship, nonchalantly opening the refrigerator unit for champagne. However, he unleashes the Facehugger trapped by Lara, and it quickly subdues him.
Lara subsequently takes their dropship and rescues Jess and Ellis, blasting off away from the station as the nuke detonates, destroying the station behind them. The three survivors fly off into desolate space, hoping to be picked up.
In the United Kingdom, the comic was planned to be serialized and reprinted, under its original title Aliens: Berserker, in the 1997 Aliens magazine. However, the cancellation of the magazine left the rerun unfinished after just one installment (in Aliens magazine #3, February 1998).
Behind the Scenes
Comics writer John Wagner was the co-creator of popular British comics character Judge Dredd in the pages of the anthology series 2000AD, and the writer/creator of Vertigo Comics' A History of Violence, which was turned into a film starring Viggo Mortensen.
Cover artist Kilian Plunkett, a veteran of Aliens comics starting with his first work on Aliens magazine, Aliens: Backsplash and Aliens: Labyrinth, eventually moved on to doing cover art for Dark Horse's Star Wars line. He now serves as the main character designer on the Cartoon Network series Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
- The Berserker unit actually first appeared in the earlier illustrated novella Aliens: Tribes. In fact, Tribes and Frenzy share several similarities beyond just the presence of a Berserker — in both stories, the mech is part of an elite clean-up squad that is dispatched to a space station to deal with a major Xenomorph infestation. Other similarities include a member of the team intentionally allowing themselves to be captured by the Xenomorphs for impregnation in order to locate the resident Queen. Jess' propensity to say, "Yo," in Frenzy may also be a subtle reference to Tribes, in which the character of Point frequently says the same.