Thursday, 9 February 2012

ALIENS: LABYRINTH

Aliens: Labyrinth #1 (of 4), September 1993. Cover by Kilian Plunkett.

I jumped into Labyrinth when it came out in 1993, right after the final issue of the previous series Aliens: Rogue. I was still at school and must've been twelve or thirteen (?) - and I think I bought them in the wrong order, starting with #3, then working backwards, though like so many miniseries, I never managed to get a hold of the final issue. 
Labyrinth was written by Jim Woodring and illustrated by Kilian Plunkett, who was only 22 at the time. Here's a few snippets from a Dark Horse Comics project profile that made up the final page of #4 of Rogue:

"As the first Alien film could be likened to a gothic horror story in outer space, Aliens: Labyrinth could be read as a murder thriller. The setting is a remote space station, where a group of scientists study behavioural responses in Aliens. The experiments are very carefully monitored, and ever safety precaution is considered, so the crew is genuinely shocked when a technician is killed by an Alien. A doctor suspects that the death may have not been an accident, and tries to uncover the truth. The murder investigation evolves into a deceiving, sinuous nightmare."

Art: Kilian Plunkett, Colours: Matt Hollingsworth.

Page eleven of #1, wherein we are introduced to Colonel Doctor Anthony Crespi and the seemingly potty Colonel Doctor Church, whose research involves the telepathic link between Aliens and the possible influence mankind may be able to exert over them.

Aliens: Labyrinth #2 (of 4), October 1993. Cover by Kilian Plunkett.

#2 is full of gross stuff but most notably a hilarious scene where Colonel Doctor Church takes Trixie aka Toodles (the Alien) for a walk around the space station in a special harness, there's an interesting necropsy (xenopsy?) of an Alien where Church waxes scientific about a telepathic gland in the Alien's carapace and we get to see the inside of Church's lab, which is just bonkers, to put it lightly.

Art: Kilian Plunkett, Colours: Matt Hollingsworth.

Check out the headless, plugged-in experiments. I don't even want to know what that brown stuff is.

Aliens: Labyrinth #3 (of 4), November 1993. Cover by Kilian Plunkett.

#3 was the first issue I had and probably my favourite, inside we get treated to a young Dr Church's ordeal inside a slightly different Alien Hive, described in vivid, visceral detail; quite possibly the most brilliant and disgusting Aliens story I've ever read. It ended on a cliffhanger and I never found out what happened in issue #4.
(Yes, I could Google it, but that would spoil the surprise).

Art: Kilian Plunkett, Colours: Matt Hollingsworth.
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