Aliens vs. Predator, also known as Aliens versus Predator, is a five-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from June-December 1990. The contents of the second issue (actually issue #0) were originally published in three installments in the anthology series Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #34-36, from November 1989-January 1990, as three prologue stories taking place immediately prior to the events of the series. The story was written by Randy Stradley, pencilled by Phill Norwood and Chris Warner, inked by Mark Propst, Brian Stelfreeze, Karl Story, Stine Walsh and Robert Campanella, lettered by Pat Brosseau, colored by Monika Livingston, and edited by Diana Schutz, with cover art by Norwood, Dave Dorman and Mike Mignola.
The main character of Machiko Noguchi would go on to appear in the comics Aliens vs. Predator: War and Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War, forming something of a trilogy. Characters and references to events from the first series would also appear in Aliens vs. Predator: Duel and Aliens vs. Predator: Blood Time.
#1: Continuing the story begun in the pages of Dark Horse Presents #34-#36, this is it — Dark Horse Comics' most ambitious project to date! The inhabitants of the colony planet Ryushi are peaceful ranchers — men and women who lead simple lives. But their lives are tragically shattered as they become part of a "coming of age" ceremony for that race of deadly alien hunters — the Predators. However, the Predators' prey are not the human inhabitants of Ryushi, but rather something far more dangerous — Aliens!
#0: Originally published in three installments in Dark Horse Presents, this edition collects the blockbuster "prequel" tale written by Randy Stradley and illustrated by Phillip Norwood. This storyline takes place prior to events contained in the Aliens vs. Predator four-issue, full-color series.
#2: The quiet settlement on the planet Ryushi is turned into a battleground as the Predators clash with the vastly superior numbers of the Alien horde — with the few remaining humans caught in the middle fighting both sides! However, when it becomes apparent that the Aliens are winning, the humans and the Predators are faced with a tough choice: trust each other — or die!
#3: All hell breaks loose as the warring Predators begin their attack on the Alien brood — with the planet's inhabitants caught right in the middle! Machiko has a plan to roust all the invaders, but what can she do alone, with only a gun at her side?
#4: Action is the key word for this final issue of comicdom's best-selling direct-sale comic book series! Machiko's only allies against the ever-increasing Alien horde are a lone Predator and a man on the brink of death!
The commercial transport vessel Lector is hauling the Chigusa Corporation's animal product rendering plant to planet Ryushi, and pilot Tom Strandberg and co-pilot Scott Conover debate over the extent that technology has stunted the development of the human race as well as the morality of humanity exploiting the resources (and indigenous lifeforms) of other planets. A Yautja scout ship flies past (mistaken by the pilots as a meteor) carrying a "domesticated" (captive) Xenomorph Queen and the automated harvesting of its eggs for seeding planets with "game" as well as the Blooded Yautja leading teams of un-Blooded for their first Xenomorph hunt. Although the ship's automation is capable of detecting Queen-Facehugger eggs and destroying them, the Queen manages to flex its abdomen enough to allow one such egg to avoid destruction and "join" the hunt. Meanwhile, Yautja Leader Dachande is preparing for the hunt, alerted by Un-Blooded of the fight for first choice of hunting ground is being won by Leader Top-Knot; when Top-Knot reaches for the medallion indicating the planet where Dachande earned his Blooding, Dachande challenges Top-Knot and defeats him. Top-Knot instead leads another hunt on a marsh-covered planet, the Facehuggers having parasitized a large serpentine species, and Blooded the first successful student.
The automated seeding pods land on four different planets, its cicada-shaped seeder crawling out of the crash site to lay the eggs before self-destructing, the Facehuggers parasitizing the first species of indigenous fauna to approach the eggs; on one, a jungle species of reptile-faced monkeys (possibly Bunda); on another, a mangrove species of four-winged birds; on yet another, a marsh species crocodilean serpents. Top-Knot leads the hunt on one of these planets (while the medallion sigil indicates in DHP #35 the one with the serpents, in DHP #36 Top-Knot's shuttle lands on the one with the birds), Blooding those Un-Blooded who survived the hunt.
The seeding pod that lands on Ryushi at dusk is detected on Prosperity Wells' long-range scanners by Mason, who goes to alert Administrator Hiroki Shimura but reaches Machiko Noguchi, his replacement. Mariko laments that she has yet to make the job hers, Hiroki advising her to instead adapt herself to the job (to "Get out of [her] office once in a while and get [her] hands dirty. Get some rhynth shit between [her] toes."). While the seeder is laying its eggs, Machiko saves Hiroki from the Rancers Association (led by Flying "A" Ranch boss Ackland) demanding a larger cut since learning the price of meat Earthside has risen, offering to speak to Chigusa on their behalf -- delayed by electromagnetic interference of "Little" Cygni -- while warning them to make sure their herds are ready for the Lector's arrival.
While Ackland has his herd driven into Beriki Canyon (and unknowing into "first contact" with the Facehuggers), Machiko and Hiroki deal with news of an imminent inspection by Shigeru Chigusa (the son of Chigusa's CEO, Takashi Chigusa) on board the Masuko-maru. As the Lector enters Ryushi orbit at the same time as Dachande's shuttle, Ackland's ranchhand Jame Roth alerts him to both dead Facehuggers and dazed rhyth in Beriki Canyon. Ackland tells her to give the Facehuggers to Dr. Kesar Revna, the town doctor and veterinarian alongside his wife Dr. Miriam Revna, but to say they were found in Iwa Gorge in order to avoid a potential quarantine.
A party is held in the town for the arrival of the Lector and their first rhynth export shipment to Earth, and Machiko surprises the still-disgruntled ranchers with the news of their receiving a larger cut, attracting the attention of co-pilot Scott and learning of Revna's departure to Iwa Gorge as well as the report he had sent to Earth concerning the Facehuggers. Instead, Revna discovers the Yautja shuttle and is discovered by its inhabitants, attempting to escape on his hoverbike but, crashing into Dachande, he loses control and drives into the shuttle, causing it to explode. The Un-Blooded Yautja, now without leader or means to leave the planet, declare war on their apparent enemy.
While reading Revna's report she is surprised by a drunken Scott and subjected to his amorous advances, Tom finding him just in time to see Machiko karate-throw him into the wall. Apologizing to Machiko for his co-pilot's behavior, Tom drives Scott back to the Lector, just time to be captured by a functioning hive.
At dawn, Machiko and Hiroki send Copter-1 pilots Ashley Ikeda and David Spanner to Iwa Gorge in search of Kesar Revna, learning from Miriam Revna that the Facehuggers were brought in by Roth. Machiko deduces that Ackland's employee saying she discovered a new lifeform the night the Ackland's herd was to be shipped off, but far away from said herd, meant Ackland wanted to avoid quarantine but still cover himself, sending Revna of a "wild goose chase".
Ikeda and Spanner discover the remains of the Yautja shuttle and its unconscious leader (while missing Revna's skull among the debris) and take him back to base, unaware that the hunting party spot their aircraft and follow it. Coming across the home of rancher Bob Sheldon, the Yautja succeed in killing him and his wife (and dog) but their son Bobby Sheldon escapes on their hoverbike.
Machiko and Hiroki learn from Roth that she was acting under Ackland's orders, Machiko defends her current lack of popularity to Ackland by revealing the possible loss of Dr. Revna, who has been treating the herds and herders since Prosperity Wells was founded. Ackland defends himself by saying he didn't want to delay the operation but Hiroki suggests any potential problem with Ackland's herd may be the reason the Lector has yet to leave the planet with its first load, Machiko sendind Collins to speak to the Lector crew in person (Tom, not Scott). Summoned to the med center, Machiko and Hiroki, along with Ackland and Roth, discover Kesar Revna still missing but Miriam Revna investigating the still-unconscious alien, Hiroki recognising rhynth-hide amongst his hunting gear. Bobby Sheldon crashes his hoverbike in town as is brought to the med center, positively identifying Dachande as belonging to the "monsters" who killed his parents.
Having Ikeda scout the remains of the Sheldon ranch, Machiko warns the town of an imminent attack and secures them inside the main complex, Hiroki placed in charge of security. Prosperity Wells in barricaded with cargo containers, unaware of the hive inside the Lector as well the cloaked Yautja scout. Machiko learns Collins has yet to return from the Lector, Hiroki given her a service pistol as she goes to first talk to Miriam Revna. Believing the "patient" is still asleep, Miriam insists upon staying in the med center until Kesar returns.
Machiko goes to the Lector, escorted by copter-pilots Riley and Mason armed with scatter-guns, but Mason is seized by Xenomorphs as soon as he enters, and Machiko only survives an outpouring wave of Xenomorphs due to a Yautja attacking them. Leaving the inexperienced Yautja to be overwhelmed, Machiko contacts Hiroki in time to hear the security team under attack at the north lock, about to tell him about the Lector when she discovers Riley already slain by another Yautja., who is then overwhelmed by Xenomorphs.
Entering the south lock, Machiko orders all doors welded shut except the east lock, learning "Little" Cygni still interfering with the satellite link, watching Hiroki's security team overwhelmed by the Yautja through security cameras. Learning of the Yautja parading the heads of human and Xenomorph prey around a victory bonfire, Machiko gears up for combat but not before leaving Weaver in charge and giving Ackland a black eye for his causing the Lector's infestation. Remembering Miriam Revna, Machiko questions her about the possible link between the Facehuggers and her openly-conscious patient, leaving her a semi-automatic shotgun for defense before leaving for the uninfected rhyth outside the Lector.
A Yautja impersonates Machiko to lure Miriam into letting him in, Dachande breaking his restraints to defend her from him. Hearing the attack, Machiko rams the med center with the hoverbike to give Dachande a chance to gear up and fight his disobedient charge, giving Machiko and Miriam time to reach Copter-1. Dachande watches the other Un-Blooded fight against the Xenomorphs, in time to witness the rhyth stampede released by Machiko overrun them. While Weaver leads the evacuation (Ackland still complaining about business loses), Miriam convinces Machiko to rescue Dachande with the copter but a lunging Xenomorph causes it to crash into the main antenna.
Tom and Scott have since escape their confines within the Lector, arriving in town to witness the Alien-versus-Predator melee as well as the fall of Copter-1. Scott pulls Machiko from the wreckage, Dachande revealing Miriam died in the crash. Machiko the last two humans in town how the Yautja had brought the Xenomorphs to Ryushi for hunting but had not known of recent human settlement. Planning to board themselves inside the main complex and wait for the Marines, Tom finds the message from Takashi Chigusa ordering the preservation of the Xenomorphs (as well as all personnel) and to await instructions from Shigeru Chigusa. Tom begins to suggest a plan to take out the whole complex when he is killed by a Chestburster that Dachande immediately kills, Scott realizing he has one as well. When Machiko offers to give Scott a mercy killing in exchange for Tom's plan, Scott gives her to codes necessary to crash the Lector's orbital barge onto the complex.
While Ackland continues to defend his actions leading to Xenomorph infestation, the other colonists -- including the ranchers -- warn him of his fate should Machiko perish (earning him a second black eye), Machiko and Dachande use a tractor to ram-raid the Lector (and the Queen), Dachande defending the emergency escape pod while Machiko gives the barge navigational instruction from the cockpit. Surviving the hit-and-run, the Queen attacks and mortally wounds Dachande but is knocked back by Machiko shots, dragging him into the escape pod. The Queen attempts to enter the pod but its hand is severed by Dachande and its head by the pod doors closing, the pod launching just it time to avoid the barge crashing onto the Lector and Prosperity Wells, finishing off the remaining Xenomorphs.
The pod landing, Dachande uses one of the Queen's fingers to Blood Machiko before dying. Chigusa declared Prosperity Wells a "write-off" and Machiko's contract bought out despite the necessity of her actions. While the colonists granted passage to a friendlier location in the Rigel system, instead of going with them and starting a new life with the credits from her buy-out, Machiko decided to stay behind on Ryushi and await the Yautja's next Xenomorph hunt.
Two years later, Machiko -- living in a rancher's former home with the town's dog and a rhynth mount, having mounted the Queen's head over the front door -- witnesses the "landing" of the Yautja seeding shuttle and prepares for the hunting party, deciding to offer an "explanation" of what happened to Dachande. Saving an Un-Blooded from a Xenomorph, Machiko presents herself to Top-Knot, who recognizes Dachande's Blooding and welcomes her into the hunt.
The series, along with its prologue story from issue 0, was first serialized and reprinted in the United Kingdom in 11 parts in Aliens magazine, Vol. 1 #1-11, from February-December 1991. Although no distinction was made between the prologue and the main series, the former remained in black and white, switching to color when the main story began.
The series, again including its prologue as well as its epilogue story from Dark Horse Presents Fifth Anniversary Special, was later collected in trade paperback form in December 1991 as Alien versus Predator. This release was edited by Randy Stradley and Jerry Prosser, and featured a new wrap-around painted cover by Phill Norwood. The previously black and white prologue and epilogue were also colored by Monika Livingston to match the rest of the series. The trade paperback was released again as a limited edition 1,000-print hardcover in December 1992.
The full series, including both the prologue and epilogue, was reissued in a six-issue format under the title Dark Horse Classics - Aliens versus Predator from February-July 1997. For this release, the entire series was recolored by Chris Chalenor, re-edited by David Land, and featured new covers by artist Michael Dubisch.
In August 2011, the first issue of the series was reissued as part of Dark Horse Comics' 1 for $1 reissue program, which saw first issues of classic Dark Horse series re-released for the special low price of $1. The released reused Raymond Swanland's cover from Aliens vs. Predator: Special Collector's Edition.
The series was collected and released again as part of Aliens vs. Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1, released on October 16, 2019.
The comic and its story formed the basis of The Hunt: Alien vs. Predator, a script for a potential feature film based on the Aliens vs. Predator series written by Peter Briggs in the early 1990s. However, the film was not developed at that time, and when a feature film based on the franchise did finally enter production (2004's Alien vs. Predator), the plot and characters had little basis in the original comic series.
Even so, some minor elements from the miniseries — specifically the apparatus for the imprisonment of the Alien Queen, the concept of Predator's hunting Aliens for sport or rites of passage, the teaming of a lead female human protagonist with the lead predator, and the use of Alien-body parts to make specific weapons — were carried over into Paul W. S. Anderson's film.
Behind the Scenes
Numerous sources, including Dark Horse founder/publisher Mike Richardson, state that the initial idea for an Aliens vs. Predator crossover comic book came from Chris Warner during a meeting discussing a potential crossover involving DC Comics, as a sort of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man-style monster meet-up. Allegedly, Warner thought up the AVP concept whilst in the restroom taking a break from the meeting. Warner, who has worked on numerous Aliens/Predator/AVP projects, would go on to serve in his current position as editor of all three comics lines for Dark Horse.
The series was preceded by a prequel short story, also called Aliens vs. Predator, published in Dark Horse Presents, Vol. 1 #34-36. The three installments of the prequel were respectively titled "Aliens", "Predator" and finally "Aliens vs. Predator" (in Dark Horse Presents #36), the latter being the time that the title Aliens vs. Predator was used on any official media. Dark Horse Presents #36 was published with two separate covers, one by AVP creator Chris Warner and a painted version by artist Dave Dorman. Several other Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comic book series were likewise preceded by namesake prequels.
The tooth-and-claw match up of what were hailed as "Fox's two greatest horror properties" was considered Dark Horse Comics' most ambitious project to date, and when this comic first appeared, it debuted as the best-selling comic to ever be published by an alternative publisher. It was also hailed by the company as comicdom's best-selling direct-sale comic book series.
In June 1991, the company released a limited edition Aliens vs. Predator lithograph of artist Dave Dorman's stunning painting (which originally appeared as the cover to Aliens vs. Predator #4 — only the sixth ever cover illustration he did for the company), featuring the series' unlikely partners — Machiko and Dachande — ready for action as the menacing tails of a hundred Xenomorphs close in for the kill. The exclusive lithograph was limited to 1,500 copies, each signed and numbered by Dorman. Reaction to the illustration was very positive and Dorman would go on to illustrate the graphic novella Aliens: Tribes for Dark Horse.
Much of the information in the story was expanded upon in the 1999 novelization by Steve Perry and Stephani Perry, titled Aliens vs. Predator: Prey. This included giving a proper name to the Predator species — which in the comics is referred to simply as the "hunter" species. In the novelization they are referred to as the "Yautja", and Dachande's Predator-language name is also revealed as well as further information on his backstory. Timeline wise, the events of the first miniseries appear to take place before the Xenomorph infestation of the Earth as seen in Aliens: Outbreak. The follow-up comic book series, Aliens vs. Predator: Duel, subsequently makes mention of the events from the film Aliens as having already happened.
- A continuity error within the series is that although several Rhynth are used as hosts by the Xenomorphs, the resulting specimens are simply Drones; the idea of Xenomorphs taking on the features of their hosts was not properly established until one year later following the release of Alien3.