Prometheus: Fire and Stone -- Omega #1

Story by
Art by
Agustin Alessio
Letters by
Nate Piekos
Cover by
Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse's multi-title, shared-universe reimagining of "Aliens," "Alien Vs. Predator" and "Prometheus" all comes together in "Prometheus: Fire and Stone -- Omega." This 44-page conclusion doesn't so much wrap up the various storylines as tie them all together, and its openness and humanist optimism place a beautiful thematic cap on the event. Kelly Sue DeConnick's to-the-point script somehow keeps discussions about souls and creation from plodding, and Agustin Alessio's painterly style creates a surprisingly peaceful genetic-lab wasteland. "Omega" is a very strong ending for an event that sometimes struggled, and it's thoroughly reinforced my suspicion that this event will read best when collected together.

"Omega" benefits most from its position in the chronology. As I've mentioned in my reviews of some of the other titles, Dark Horse's somewhat bizarre publication schedule often got in the way of those stories being told effectively. "Omega" isn't missing any pieces or appearing out of order, so the plot coasts smoothly. DeConnick takes full advantage of the situation, wasting little time re-explaining or summarizing -- a nice meeting of authorial skill and editorial opportunity.

DeConnick also has the opportunity to wrap things up neatly, but -- spoilers coming, so skip a paragraph ahead to avoid -- she instead opts for an open ending. While Elden's journey comes to a traditional conclusion, the reader can't be sure what will happen to the remaining characters. There isn't even much to suggest that that they've changed. Galgo is certainly much the same man, and Angela may have come to a new understanding but not a new way of living. Still, DeConnick and Alessio suggest that this is, in some ways, the beauty of the story. "Omega" steps back from the pseudo-religious mire of the "Prometheus" film and gets closer to the humanism of the original "Alien." In this world, evolution is not the development of new species or technologies but of greater compassion and a philosophy that steps outside oneself and one's quest for meaning.

That said, since all the spelunking, fighting aliens and scrambling for survival ultimately comes to naught, the 44 pages do feel overlong. It's frustrating to come through that adrenaline without any payoff or greater understanding, but I suppose that's also the point. Still, it won't be for every reader.

For the first few pages, I was worried by Alessio's art, because Angela looks undeniably like a Lara Croft rip-off. However, aside from that phoned-in character design, Alessio crafts a sumptuous, cinematic world. The aliens are grotesque and Giger-esque, from the bloated corpse in the Onanger to the pig-bug monsters that Galgo and Angela hunt for meat. Elden is less menacing and more alien than his first incarnation, the leering, tendons-and-eyeholes look in his face giving way to more closed, carapace-like strangeness. While Alessio's humans could sometimes use a bit more expression, his aliens and alien worlds are wonderful to look at.

Alessio's painterly colors also give the landscapes and establishing shots a film-like feel. The issue closes with a sweeping look across LV-223 that's surprisingly reassuring; DeConnick's ending wouldn't have worked if Alessio hadn't gotten those colors right, and he presents a world that's stark but not hopeless. This style can also take the action out of the world, though, and at times it has a museum quality -- still and sterile, with the survivors wandering through its preserved remains. The aliens don't look like they're about to spring up and surprise the protagonists, so many of the scenes feel less tense than they could have. However, Alessio also often surprised me by bringing the details back in. At times, he emphasizes musculature or outlines a ribcage, reminding the reader of both the aliens' aliveness and their artificiality: someone made this thing as an experiment, and now it can breathe. It's a very effective mix of synthetic and realist.

"Omega" has seriously reignited my desire to re-read this universe when it's all collected. When a conclusion can make me reassess the weaker issues because of how they might fit into the overall picture, it's done some great work.

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