Aliens: Wraith is a one-shot comic book that was first published by Dark Horse Comics in July 1998. It was written by Jay Stephens, illustrated by Eduardo Risso, colored by Chris Chalenor, lettered by Clem Robins, and edited by Philip Amara and Ian Stude, with cover art by Ronnie del Carmen.
On Earth, or in the dark reaches of space, teenagers are concerned with one thing: meeting other teenagers. It's no different for Roark, the latest arrival to the off-world agri-colony of Tirgu-Mires. He's making new friends fast, particularly with a young girl named Hope. But there's more to this farm colony than Roark first suspected. Every town has a dark secret not spoken in the light of day. Tirgu-Mires' secret just happens to have sharp teeth, acid blood and a murderous hunger for human flesh.
At the fourth-generation agri-colony on Tirgu-Mires, a group of local teens watches on as a migrant ship lands and a pair of newcomers arrive at the colony. One of the newcomers, a teenager named Roark, scolds the locals for being nosey. Later, Roark is approached by one of the locals, a girl named Hope, who asks him to come to the evening bush jam.
After complaining about the boring lifestyle of the locals, Roark is told about the legend of the Wraith by another local, Batik. Initially finding the tale to be boring, Batik tells Roark that twelve youths have gone missing in the cave said to be the dwelling of the Wraith, including one of their old friends, Specs. The other locals dismiss Batik's tale, saying that no one has seen the so-called Wraith, to which Batik proclaims that he has seen it and describing it as a giant white skeletal monster. Roark still doesn't believe and so wants them to take him to the cave to prove how brave he is. The locals warn him that the cave really is dangerous but he doesn't listen and enters the cave, calling them superstitious.
Roark soon discovers that perhaps the legends weren't so superstitious after all as he discovers several skeletons cocooned to the walls of the cave. He is frightened by Hope, who had come in the cave after him, worried. Hope notices a pair of glasses on one of the skeletons and deduces that it was Specs. As she recoils in horror, Roark reveals that he believes the "Wraith" to be an Alien, telling her that he had read about how they reproduce. Hope, however, notices an inconsistency with his story; asking him where the eggs were and if he thinks the creature is still alive.
They soon find out that it is indeed still alive as it towers over Hope, standing behind her. The duo makes a run for it, Hope comments on how it looked old and sickly as they creep through the halls of the cave, eventually reaching a dead-end. Roark busts a hole in the wall with a makeshift torch and they crawl through the hole, believing to have escaped the Wraith. Just as they think they're safe, the Wraith reaches through the hole and claws Hope's back, Roark then attacks it with the torch before they run off again. The Wraith breaks through the wall and the two teens hide behind some rocks before Hope discovers a tunnel leading to a large room with some sort of liquid covering the floor. They make their way up a sloped wall as the Wraith follows behind, however, when trying to climb the slope, Roark drops his torch which causes the liquid to ignite and burn the Wraith.
They run through the chemical smoke and find a hole to the surface which they then start to climb up, the Wraith just below them. Once they make it outside, they regroup with the other locals, who think that Roark was the one who attacked Hope as they do not believe the legend of the Wraith but Hope assures them that what Roark said was the truth. The hole they climbed out of reeks out the chemical gas with no sign of the Wraith, causing Roark to think the fire killed it. However, it soon rises out the hole and grabs one of the locals, lifting them up into the air as the others run away. Soon after, it is blasted in the face and killed by a group of Colonial Marines who inform the teens that they are under quarantine and ask them if they are the only ones who were involved in the situation. After Roark confirms that they are all there is, the Marines open fire on the group of teenagers, killing them all. They then inform their superior that the problem has been dealt with and that they should have "Team Two" target the colony at their discretion before they head into the cave. It is then revealed that the cave was actually an ancient Engineer ship
Behind the Scenes
Argentinian artist Risso is also known as the critically acclaimed illustrator of the entire run of DC/Vertigo's 100 Bullets.
- The planet Tirgu-Mires, home to the fourth generation agri-colony in Aliens: Wraith, also makes an appearance in a short story titled Aliens: Once in a Lifetime, a story that ties in with the Aliens: Apocalypse miniseries. Information given about Tirgu-Mires in both stories places the events of Wraith several decades, if not almost an entire century, after the events of Aliens: Once in a Lifetime and Apocalypse.
- The two humans on the cover to Aliens: Wraith, who are presumably supposed to represent Roark and Hope, look extremely different to the characters actually presented in the comic.