“Prometheus: Fire and Stone” #1 by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra is both a comics tie-in and followup to the Ridley Scott’s “Prometheus” movie from 2012, and it’s also the first issue in Dark Horse’s Prometheus/Aliens/Predator “Fire and Stone” crossover event.
Tobin and Ferreyra introduce a new cast of characters and get them to the scene of the action on LV-223 quickly, but the speed doesn’t make up for the clunkiness. Tobin information-dumps by using a character to narrate a documentary of the mission and having the captain record an audio ship’s log. These short-cut plot devices help do the job, but they are used in a way that feels flimsy and artificial.
Intracrew conflicts are also set up, but they all lack tension. There’s also too many parallels with the plot of the “Prometheus” film.
The revelation that Captain Angela Foster is hiding the true mission from her crew has zero shock value. It’s a cliche that sometimes can still work, but a betrayal like this only draws blood if readers have had time to believe in the mission and to invest in the characters. Angela is similar to her predecessor Elizabeth Shaw in her determination and entitlement when it comes to finding answers, even at the expense of her crew’s right to some transparency. Francis is like another version of Weyland, only this time the desperation is fueled by a terminal disease instead of old age. This fear of death clouds Francis’ judgment enough for him to do something terminally stupid in “Prometheus: Fire and Stone” #1. Unfortunately, the issue continues the film’s unrealistic depictions of research scientists as well.
Tobin attempts to make the crew seem like a family, but they come across like cardboard. The dialogue has no life to it and the jokes fall flat, particularly as the crew jabbers back and forth when they set foot on LV-223. Most of the characters are likely to end up as cannon fodder, but their lack of deeper characterization makes their probable future deaths count for less.
Ferreyra’s backgrounds are rich and his creepy-crawlies on LV-223 do evoke a visceral reaction. However, Ferreyra misses the mark when it comes down to even more crucial parts of the storytelling. His character’s faces and body language are stiff and don’t sync up well with script. Ferreyra copies the color palette of the original film, but so much bluish-gray landscape dulls the action. The environment of LV-223 is eerie, but Ferreyra’s camera angles don’t add much to strengthen the effects of texture and line.
“Prometheus: Fire and Stone” #1 doesn’t stand on its own for readers who aren’t invested in the franchise already, and it’s also of dubious value as a follow-up to the film or a start to the “Fire and Stone” crossover. It doesn’t build horror effectively yet, and the characterization is weak. The only real suspense occurs on the last page, and this is inherited suspense, riding on the coattails of the movie. Familiar readers may soldier on to learn exactly why LV-223 is so changed or simply to see when what happens when things go further south. The final panel isn’t a huge surprise, but it does create anticipation, at least for “Aliens” fans, about what happens when that door is opened like Pandora’s box.