Aliens: Stronghold, also known as Aliens, Vol. 8: Stronghold, is a four-part limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from May-September 1994. It was written by John Arcudi, pencilled by Doug Mahnke, inked by Mahnke and Jimmy Palmiotti, colored by Perry McNamee, lettered by Ellie De Ville, and edited by Ryder Windham, with cover art by Mahnke.

This story takes place after the creation of Norbert, the first synthetic Xenomorph, built by Dr. Mayakovsky in Aliens: Harvest.

In Dark Horse's Aliens comics line, Aliens: Stronghold was preceded by Aliens: Music of the Spears and published concurrently with Aliens: Colonial Marines and Aliens: Mondo Pest; the unreleased comic Aliens: Matrix was also due to be published concurrently. Stronghold was followed by Aliens: Frenzy.

Publisher's Summary[]

#1: On an apparently routine supply run, Philip and Joy Strunk deliver a shipment of synthetic photo receptors to Caspar Nordling, biotechnologist for Grant Corporation. When the Strunks discover that Nordling's experiments have exceeded Stanislaw Mayakovsky's work (as seen in Aliens: Hive), they realize that there's more to Nordling — and the Aliens — than meets the eye. No one will want to miss this off-beat, high-action thriller from the writer/artist team that brought you The Mask and The Mask Returns!

#2: After watching Caspar Nordling conduct nearly sadistic experiments on an Alien Chestburster, Philip and Joy Strunk question Nordling's motivations, and consider bringing the scientist up on charges. But will Nordling's synthetic Alien allow them to do it? The suspense mounts!

#3: When you mix the fierce intensity of the Aliens with the twisted minds of John Arcudi and Doug Mahnke, the team currently responsible for the lunacy of The Mask, you can expect that all of the questions you were ever afraid to ask would finally be answered! Can an Alien truly appreciate a hand-rolled, long-filler Cuban cigar? Now you'll know!

#4: Rebellious androids, secret investigators, and escaped Xenomorphs! It looks as though Casper Nordling's perfect world is about to collapse, but Nordling may still have an ugly trick up his sleeve.



Nordling introduces the Strunks to Jeri.


Dean obliterating Xenomorphs.

Grant Corporation supply runners and security auditors Philip and Joy Strunk land at doctor Caspar Nordling's research facility to deliver him spare synthetic parts. They are also on a covert mission to uncover any suspicious activity on Nordling's part to prosecute him. Upon landing they are personally welcomed by Nordling, who introduces them to his all-android staff, alongside Jeri, a Synthetic, English-speaking Xenomorph that served as a successor to Stan Mayakovsky's Norbert. Nordling details to the two that he is working on creating a deadly virus capable of wiping out the Xenomorph species. Nordling is abusive to his android staff, particularly towards his secretary Lizzy, whom he treats as a psuedo-sex synth, much to Joy's displeasure.

After a snafu in Caspar's contained Hive, heavily-armed specialized synthetic Dean is called in to pacify the situation. Caspar enjoys teasing Jeri, specifically sending him into the hive on errands, only for him to desperately identify himself to Dean before his is killed by the latter.

Later, Philips catches Caspar cruelly experimenting on a Xenomorph Chestburster, needing extra assistance unloading the cargo, they go down to the facility where synthetic Dr Payne resides, Payne's duty is to repair injured or destroyed synthetics, and clearly dislikes Nordling.

Joy is ultimately suspicious of Nordling's motivations, and, after being directed to the facility's monitoring systems to check on security by Lizzy, she decides to look into the facilities productivity files. There, she finds an additional unverified two ship landings in the facility, and that egg-harvesting rates are incredibly smaller given the size of the hive. The Strunks are invited to dinner by Caspar, and Joy, sick of Nordling's behavior, berates the scientist. The two suddenly come to the realization that he had drugged their wine, and subsequently fell unconscious.

The two awaken in the hive, restrained and facing two Eggs. As one of them hatches and Joy yells in terror, the two are suddenly saved by Jeri, who kills the emerging Facehugger and swiftly takes the two to safety.

The three subsequently approach Payne in his quarters, requesting the one of two keys in the facility to the weapons cache, only for him to refuse due to his programming. After the three go to the landing bay for their ship, it is shown that Nordling locked the door to their ship, they also find another ship there. Jeri clarifies that it belongs to Grant-corp member Chaut, who periodically arrives to pick up eggs. However, Joy deciphers to the two that Nordling is clearly selling eggs to criminals on the black-market, and that Chaut is a smuggler. They go into his office to access his classified information in hopes of accessing their ship, but Dean suddenly crashes into the office and restrains Jeri. Nordling emerges and holds the Strunks at gunpoint. However, after Jeri identifies himself to Dean, and Dean releases him, the group realizes that Dean is not hostile. Philip subsequently attacks the scientist, but he is saved by Lizzy. Jeri cuts her hand off and bisects her head, and the three retreat. They are soon met with Payne and the rest of the synthetic staff working there, armed. Though it appears that they are hostile, it is revealed that they are siding with Jeri and the Strunks, and begin destroying Nordling's research facility.


Jeri, Dean and the synthetics hold off the Xenomorph horde.

Nordling in a fit of rage, ends up overriding security measures and opens the entrance hatch to the hive, causing hundreds of Xenos to flood out. He then intends for he and the damaged Lizzy to escape the facility in an emergency escape pod. The two are suddenly attacked by a group of Xenomorphs, and Lizzy uses the left of her strength to save the doctor, giving him enough time to retreat.

The Strunks and synthetics are suddenly rushed by a wave of Xenomorphs. The group hold out valiantly in a brutal firefight, but are ultimately overwhelmed. Just before they are killed, Dean crashes through the wall and, after being granted permission by Philip, joins the slaughter, buying them enough time to reach the landing bay. Payne blasts a hole through the locked hatch and Joy and Philip escape the decaying facility with their lives.

Nordling reaches his escape pod and also manages to escape the facility. However, Jeri had sneaked aboard with him, and despite his pleas to spare him, ends up lighting a virus-tainted cigar that he used to poison Chaut, with Jeri citing "I still know a son of a bitch when I see one".

Reprint History[]

Dark Horse Comics[]


Cover to Aliens: Stronghold trade paperback by Duncan Fegredo.

The series was later collected and published as a trade paperback in July 1996, edited by Lynn Adair with a new cover by Duncan Fegredo.

The second collected edition, released in July 1997, was retitled Aliens, Vol. 8: Stronghold. This release was part of Dark Horse's "remastered" Aliens Library Editions series — reprints that attempted to bring the content of all of Dark Horse's previously released Aliens comics in line with the updated continuity presented by Alien3. The Stronghold trade paperback was edited by Jamie S. Rich and featured a new cover by John Bolton. Stronghold would prove to be the last Aliens comic collected as part of the Aliens Library Editions (although the Aliens: Kidnapped trade paperback would later feature a similarly-styled cover by Bolton).

Aliens: Stronghold was collected again as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 4 in July 2008.

The complete comic was released digitally through Dark Horse Digital on April 24, 2013, reusing Fegredo's cover art from the trade paperback release.

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[]

On Stronghold, veteran Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator writer John Arcudi teamed with his longtime collaborator artist Doug Mahnke. The two had previously worked together as the first creative team on Dark Horse Comics' original hit cross-over property The Mask in the 1980s.

Arcudi is a veteran writer of Aliens and Predator comics, having also worked on Predator: God's Truth, Predator: Big Game, Aliens: Reapers, Aliens: Genocide, Aliens: Alien, Aliens: Alchemy, Aliens: More Than Human and Predator: Prey to the Heavens.

Artist Mahnke is well known for also going on to become a successful artist on DC Comics' Justice League series, as well as others.


Issue covers[]