Written by: Neil Davies, Special to CC2K
Prometheus: Fire and Stone misses the mark on what initially made the world of Prometheus appealing, and delivers a comic that’s both expertly illustrated and incredibly derivative.
Writer: Paul Tobin
Illustrator: Juan Ferreyra
Warning: Here be mild spoilers!
Prometheus: Fire and Stone collects the four-issue miniseries set in the world of Ridley Scott’s Alien and Prometheus films. This story takes place 126 years after the events of the film Prometheus and attempts to tackle the mystery of the disappearance of Peter Weyland and the entire crew of the Prometheus. It also sets out to find answers regarding the mysterious and enigmatic “Engineer’s.” This first installment in a potential multi-series event was created by writer Paul Tobin and artist Juan Ferreyra.
This book centers on a group of deep space salvagers heading purposefully to the infamous LV-223, in the hopes of salvaging wreckage and gathering scientific data. While the planet is supposed to be deserted following the events of the movie Aliens, our protagonists find themselves on a planet brimming with both plant and animal life, almost all of which has the tinge of the well-known (to readers) xenomorphic style.
The art style of Prometheus: Fire and Stone is probably the strongest element of this comic. Ferreyra brings new life to a previously dead world and while almost all of the alien creatures created for this book are imitative versions of Earthly animals, their xenomorphic style makes them visually dynamic and exceptionally horrifying. Ferreyra knows when to create a smoother look with softer edges, lulling the reader into security, and when to have sharp menacing lines to jolt you to alertness. His style captures the beauty of new and untampered life, as well as the terrifying nature of the book’s fearsome antagonists.
Love it or hate it, Prometheus was a film that attempted to inspire fans of the Alien franchise to think beyond what had been introduced in previous films. The concept behind Prometheus is that there is a bigger universe than the derelict spaceship on LV-223 and that, in the words of Fox Mulder, the truth is out there. Unfortunately, this comic uses the title Prometheus to fool readers into thinking that the same type of scientific and curious exploration will be the focus. I understand that action, adventure and a dash of terror is necessary in this world, it’s what helped turn Alien into the beloved classic that it is. However, when I think of Prometheus: Fire and Stone, the word that inevitably jumps to mind is “Derivative.”
Beneath the guise of scientific exploration, and the initial pages promising this to be a futuristic Indiana Jones grave hunt, searching for the truth behind Weyland’s disappearance, this comic winds up being a simple run, shoot and hide story. My initial hopes in picking up this comic were to see the “Engineers” learn more about their culture, learn more of our Earth’s fictional history and understand the limits and purposes of the “black goo.” Unfortunately, very little of those desires were achieved. While I understand that bringing pre-conceived notions into an original book is a fool’s game, at the end of the day this is a story about Xenomorphs. XENOMORPHS!
I apologize to Alien fanboys, but haven’t we seen more than enough of the Xenomorphs? Creating a comic branded with the title “Prometheus” promises readers more, not more of the same. While the story does manage to find interesting snippets, and engaging character motivations, this comic book could have been called “Alien 5: Now with more Xenomorphs!”
Ultimately, I could forgive the repetition of the tired and poorly motivated Alien villains that we’ve seen on repeat since the 70’s if there were more to the story, but unfortunately there wasn’t. I can’t help compare this to other movie-based comic book titles like Terminator: Enemy of my Enemy, a story that seemingly begins like any other movie in the Terminator franchise and then ingeniously turns it on its head.
As a writer who understands budget constraints and being selective about purchasing comics, I can’t in good conscience recommend this comic. Prometheus: Fire and Stone has loads of potential, and as an individual who is a big defender of the flaws of most of the Alien franchise, I was more than disappointed to see the potential of this story squandered.