No I’m not talking about Aliens vs. Predator, Superman, Batman or anyone else. I want to talk about crossover stories into other genres within the Aliens universe. This is a frequent plot device in the comics and I’m sorry to say that in most instances it just doesn’t work.
I can’t decide why writers and editors do this… I get the vision of a load of writers sitting in around a desk when one suddenly lights up
“Hey what if we put Aliens into a Jane Austin story, that’d be awesome!”
“Great job, Frank!” says the editor “That’s lunch everyone.”
I suppose it’s a simple way to make a story, take the Alien and drop it into another genre, but it amazes me how this has failed again, again and again! This conviction comes from the fact that these crossover stories start to appear in the later books, when other storylines had been exhausted or writers were simply trying new angles for the sake of innovation. Ok it’s easy for me to criticize, but I believe that the Aliens universe has a rich vein of interesting themes and concepts which have largely been ignored. I understand that there are deadlines and pressure to release new content, but why not employ a writer who genuinely has some interesting ideas or a passion for this subject, instead of just taking Aliens and another genre and ramming them together to make a story?
The main issue is that the Aliens usually end up being just another bland, generic monster, the deadly cunning killing machine from the first three Alien films is diminished and forgotten. This seems to be the primary failure of these attempts, yes the writers understand the genre they are using, be it a 50’s sci-fi B movie or cowboy film or teen slasher flick but they miss-understand, or fail to grasp the nature of the Alien character completely.
The films established exactly what just one Alien can do, wiping out the large numbers of people whilst being almost invulnerable, the constant fear was that if just one made it to Earth it could wipe out humanity, but this threat is completely missing from these stories.
I am thankful that this trend seems to have been in the past as more recent releases avoid what I view as a clichéd and lazy plot device.