Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species, originally titled Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species, is a 12-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from July 1993-August 1995. It was written by Chris Claremont, pencilled by Jackson Guice and Eduardo Barreto, inked by John Beatty and Barreto, colored by Gregory Wright, lettered by Tom Orzechowski, and edited by Diana Schutz and Barbara Kesel, with cover art by John Bolton. The series was preceded by the short-story prequel Aliens: Renegade.
The story takes place in the futuristic Aliens vs. Predator universe, where the Earth has been liberated after being overrun by Aliens (as see in Aliens: Outbreak) and the social elite have taken refuge in gigantic skyliners, like the Liberté. Genetically engineered corporate trophy wife Caryn Delacroix is the protagonist, with an unclear past regarding both the Aliens and Predators that slowly starts to be revealed throughout most of the comic. TOY, an artificial intelligence computer mainframe, serves as the primary antagonist, while the Predator and even Xenomorphs in the story are many times in cooperation with Delacroix and her companions for parts of the series, the most notable being a female Predator known as "Big Mama."
In the Aliens vs. Predator comics line, Aliens vs. Predator: Deadliest of the Species was preceded by Aliens vs. Predator 2, published concurrently with Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time, Aliens vs. Predator: Booty, Aliens vs. Predator: Duel and Aliens vs. Predator: War, and was followed by Dark Horse Classics - Aliens versus Predator.
#1: In a skyliner high above the Alien-contaminated Earth, Caryn Delacroix can't sleep. Terrifying images of pursuit, disfigurement, and bloody death have invaded her peaceful dreams and her safe and privileged world.
But they're only nightmares... Or are they? The beautiful trophy-consort of corporate magnate Lucien Delacroix soon discovers that nightmares do come true, and that there are fates worse than death, as a Predator comes to call.
#2: Far from her sheltered, affluent existence in the sky as the trophy-wife of a corporate magnate, Caryn Delacroix now finds herself playing a deadly game of cat-and-mouse as she is stalked by the fearsome Predator. But is this real — or just a lethal virtual reality scenario constructed by the mysterious super-computer, TOY? Unfortunately, Caryn doesn't have time to figure out the answer, as she's too busy scrambling for her life! And as if the Predator weren't enough of a threat, in her bid for escape Caryn comes face-to-face with... an Alien horde!
#3: Safely back in her deluxe home in the skies, Caryn Delacroix is plagued by nightmares in which Predators and Aliens abound, all of them intent on destroying her. The problem is, the nightmares are proving to be "Virtually Real"!
#4: Caryn Delacroix discovers that she's been lied to, and the Predator she assumed was a figment of her own tortured imagination is quite real — and being held captive on board her husband's skyliner. In a desperate bid for escape, the Predator forces Caryn to choose between her safe home in the skies versus an uneasy alliance with the fearsome creature.
#5: With an ailing Predator in tow, trophy wife Caryn Delacroix leaves the many deceptions of her former sheltered life behind, only to fall into the hands of rogues scheming to kidnap and sell her on the black market.
#6: While Caryn Delacroix is forced to undergo another genetic transformation at the hands of kidnappers who intend to sell her on the black market, the Predator makes life rough for the other inhabitants of Space Station Samara. However, everyone is in for some pretty "Rude Awakenings" when they discover that one of the space station's inhabitants is an Alien Queen!
#7: Sometimes the choice between the lesser of two evils is no choice at all. Caryn Delacroix, having escaped the black-market profiteers, takes off in a Thelma-and-Louise-style T-bird through the corridors of Space Station Samara in search of her sometime ally, the Predator. Will he be her savior, or her assassin? All this, and the pseudo-Alien TecSeks, too!
#8: Trapped in an Alien nest on Samara Station, trophy wife Caryn Delacroix fights for her life and identity against the raging memories trapped inside her genetically perfect body and the former allies who want her dead. TecSeks, Alien-killer robots, are loose inside the poorly defended station, already overwhelmed by its search for a Predator, which means no back-up for the others trapped in the hive. To save them, Caryn prepares herself for the ultimate sacrifice...
#9: Trapped in an Alien hive deep in the heart of Space Station Samara, Caryn Delacroix and the team of soldiers sent to hunt her have one way out — the Preator ship in which Caryn came to the station. In a station without gravity, rapidly losing all atmosphere, all that lies between them and freedom is a vicious horde of Alien-killer robots, and one cranky mother Alien. Will Caryn's strange transformation be their salvation or their death?
#10: On their way to find the source of the deadly TecSek raid that decimated Samara Station with an Alien queen on board, the transformed Caryn Delacroix and the Predator "Big Mama" put the other humans through the deadliest training they will ever face — a series of brutal tests designed to turn them into the fiercest hunters in the universe. What happens when humans become Predators?
#11: Caryn Delacroix is lost in a virtual world with her arch rival, Bobby DeMatier. Jumping from the old west to distant planets to the crime-ridden streets of 1920s America, they are locked in a battle for possession of TOY, the living computer that controls the SkyLiner spacecraft and the architect of their dreams. Elsewhere on the ship, Shirow and DeMedici search for the cause of the Alien takeover. As the clues unravel, their suspicions lead them to a betrayal that is closer than they'd like it to be. All this, plus the debut of a brand-new Alien hybrid!
#12: Something evil is lurking the corridors of SkyLiner Liberté, leaving death and carnage in its wake. Caryn and her band of Predators believe it's an Alien hive, but they're gonna find out they're wrong. Dead wrong.
In the United Kingdom, Aliens/Predator: The Deadliest of the Species was planned to be serialized and reprinted in 10 parts in Total Carnage. However, the cancellation of the magazine left the rerun unfinished after just 2 installments (in Total Carnage #9-10, from December 1993-January 1994).
The comic was first collected and published as a trade paperback in November 1996, under the slightly shortened title of Aliens/Predator: Deadliest of the Species. It was released again in a limited hard-cover edition in June 1997. Both editions were edited by Lynn Adair and featured the same new, painted cover by John Bolton. The hardcover edition additionally included a cover gallery of the artwork from each of the 12 original issues, as well as a tip-in signature plate painted by John Bolton and signed by Bolton and series writer Chris Claremont.
Behind the Scenes
Following a one-year hiatus after his best-selling run on The Uncanny X-Men, Chris Claremont made his triumphant return to comics in this 320-page epic of Aliens and Predators.
Jackson Guice and John Beatty (The Terminator: Endgame) delivered some of their finest art in the early chapters, and Eduardo Barreto deftly carried the mantle from issue 4 through to the end of the series.
- Apart from the obvious Aliens/Predator universe crossover, Claremont also made a number of other pop-culture references over the course of the series:
- The apparent skulls of several notable comic book characters make cameos as Predator trophies in "Big Mama's" spaceship. These include what appear to be the skulls of Magneto, Wolverine, Batman and Cyclops.
- There is an homage to the popular Shiro Masamune manga/anime Appleseed in the form of the spaceship of the series two Strike Force Rangers, Shirow and DeMedici, and their starship "Appleseed", which runs on a computer called the "Briareos Mode 9 C3 Nexus" (Briareos is the name of the manga/anime's android co-protagonist). There is also a picture of the two posing with what appears to be the main human character from the manga/anime.
- There is a reference to cartooning legend Wally Wood in the same scene, where a panel on the Appleseed reads that it was constructed by the "W. Wood Spacecraft Co.".
- There is a Flash Gordon homage included in the virtual reality fight sequences at the story's climactic battle, including a redrawing of a famous panel of Flash Gordon artwork by Al Williamson and Roy Krenkel, with the note "After Al + Roy" in the corner.
- There is a reference to the film Thelma & Louise (which was directed by Ridley Scott) in the form of a car that Caryn finds and drives, which is identical to the one from the film, with a license plate that reads "Thelma 01".
- Two characters named "Bart" and "Homer" appear during a battle sequence, an obvious reference to television series The Simpsons.
- There is a reference to Vampirella where Caryn Delacroix is drawn wearing Vampirella's trademark attire, while also sporting a Yautja bio-helmet and Wristblades.
- With 12 issues, Deadliest of the Species is the longest ever Aliens vs. Predator comic series. The only other comic of comparable length in the Aliens/Predator/Aliens vs. Predator universe is Aliens: Defiance, which likewise ran for 12 issues.
- "Hasslein Blog - The Alien/Predator Comic Strips, Part Two". Retrieved on 2015-06-15.