Operation: Aliens is a trading card-format comic that was published by Dark Horse Comics as part of the Aliens/Predator Universe trading card set from Topps in January 1994. It was written by Jerry Prosser and illustrated, inked and colored by Den Beauvais.
In the Aliens comics line, Operation: Aliens was preceded by Aliens: Cargo, published concurrently with Aliens: Colonial Marines, Aliens: Earth Angel, Aliens: Crusade, Aliens: Labyrinth, Aliens: Alien and Aliens: Music of the Spears, and was followed by Aliens: Stronghold.
The comic consists of 15 trading cards (A1-A15), each with original artwork by Den Beauvais on the front side and text by Jerry Prosser on the rear. Together they form a short story set within the Alien universe. Certain elements in the comic are derived from the cancelled Operation: Aliens children's television series and the Aliens toy line from Kenner (which was itself based on the TV show), although the story, such as it is, seems to be largely original.
Scientists studying the Xenomorphs at Grant Corporation Station 13 send out a distress call when their specimens get loose and begin rampaging through the base. The signal is passed on to Lieutenant Roberta Benitez of the United States Colonial Marine Corps, who is ordered to mount a rescue and "sterilization" mission. Benitez and her Marines land on the moon base and begin the search for survivors. They are soon attacked by Xenomorphs and forced deeper into the complex, taking casualties along the way. Several of the Aliens they encounter are strange new forms resembling Bulls, Gorillas and Snakes, created by the scientists through gene splicing.
Benitez and her remaining men find a surviving scientist and make their escape, passing through the Hive and killing the Xenomorph Queen along the way. They make it to the dropship and take off, but are attacked by a Flying Queen. The pilot successfully kills the creature with missiles, before returning to their starship in orbit and destroying Station 13 with a nuclear strike. Benitez sends off her mission report, lamenting the loss of two good men, solemnly concluding, "When will we learn?"
Operation: Aliens has never been collected or reissued.
Behind the Scenes
Among the elements taken from the Operation: Aliens television series and its related toy line from Kenner are the special equipment used by some of the Marines, and Xenomorphs adopting traits from a variety of different hosts.
Operation: Aliens is notable as one of the few Aliens stories to depict the scientific procedure of gene-splicing to create Spliced Xenomorphs. Gene-splicing is also a plot device in Aliens: Rogue, and two Aliens crossover series: Batman/Aliens II and Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Splice and Dice.
- Trading card A1 of Operation: Aliens starts off with Lieutenant Benitez receiving a video transmission from Grant Corporation Station 13. The transcription of this video transmission opens with "Video uplink. Emergency channel. Priority blue. Code: OP PROMETHEUS."
- Trading card A8 makes mention of a previous encounter the Colonial Marines had with Xenomorphs on the planet "Arcturus IV", an obvious nod to Frost's line about Arcturians in the film Aliens. In reality, Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in the night sky.