Aliens: Earth War (aka Aliens, vol. 3 or Aliens: Book Three, and more recently as Aliens: The Female War) is a four-issue limited comic book series published by Dark Horse Comics from June-October 1990. It was written by Mark Verheiden and illustrated by Sam Kieth. Lettering was by Pat Brosseau and coloring by Monika Livingston. Cover art for the series and for later collected editions was by painter John Bolton. It was edited by Diana Schutz.
In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: Earth War was published concurrently with the short stories Aliens: Advent/Terminus (July-Aug. 1990) and Aliens: Countdown (Sept. 1990-Dec. 1991). It was followed by the short stories Aliens: Reapers (April 1991), Aliens: The Alien (Nov. 1991), and then by the full miniseries Aliens: Genocide (Nov. 1991-February 1992).
The story was a continuation of the events from Aliens (series 1) (1988) and Aliens (series 2) (1989), originally featuring the continuing adventures of the characters Newt and Dwayne Hicks from the film Aliens, and also reintroducing Alien-film-franchise heroine Lt. Ellen Ripley.
For later printings, after the release of the film Alien³, the story was retitled Aliens: The Female War, and the names/identities of the lead characters were changed to Billie and Wilks, since Newt and Hicks were killed off at the start of the film, and the Ellen Ripley who appears in the story is said to be a synthetic version of Ripley, who was killed off at the film's end. As such, the story, as Aliens: The Female War, the story still stands as part of Aliens comics/novel continuity; and Billie, Wilks, and the Ellen Ripley synthetic have all become completely separate characters.
Official description of individual issues from original release: The Aliens still dominate the Earth, but Hicks and Newt are determined to free the planet- no matter the cost! Now, they are not alone in their struggle. An old friend and comrade comes out of hiding to aid them in their struggle, but will that be enough to win the day?
Newt joins Ripley's crew as they set off from Gateway Station. Their mission: to trap the Alien Queen Mother... and brings her back to Earth! Meanwhile, on Earth, humans are still being terrorized by the Alien infestation-and worse, it looks like the planet is somehow starting to change, to reform, but into what?
This issue we're in for lots of female trouble when Ripley and her crew travel to the Aliens' home planet in an effort to capture the Alien Queen mother. Her highness has other plans, however, as she sends her "babies" to take out Ripley's team, leaving the two species' feistiest females to battle it out one-on-one! Meanwhile, the armored personnel carrier, which has transported the crew to the Alien hive, is headed for a nuclear meltdown -- leaving our team stranded on the planet with no way to return to their ship!
All the stops are out! Ripley and her crew transport the Alien Queen Mother to Earth and prepare themselves for the final showdown. While Ripley is rigging bombs for a major meltdown of both the planet and its alien infestation, Newt is stealing away to try to save the life of a lone little girl. With the clock ticking down, Newt is lost inside a mountain teeming with the alien horde- and Ripley finds herself exactly where she wants to be: face-to-face with her highness!
Aliens: The Female WarEdit
Official description of re-issue as Aliens: The Female War: Billie only wanted what all children want -- the warmth and security of family, the human connectedness that comes from belonging. What she got was a nightmare without end. Dark Horse is proud to present the third volume in the remastered Aliens series, Aliens: Female War. Written by The Mask screenplay writer Mark Verheiden and illustrated by The Maxx artist/creator Sam Kieth, Female War is a revised edition of what was previously titled Aliens: Earth War.
After its original comic book release from June-Oct. 1990, Aliens: Earth War was collected and released in a trade paperback version in July 1991 with a new cover by Bolton. This was followed by a second, limited edition collected release in Dec. 1991 with the same cover.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the series was serialized and reprinted in 7 parts from July 1991-Jan. 1992 in Aliens #6-12 in Aliens magazine.
In 1996, after the release of Alien 3, the story was re-edited, re-titled and re-released for a third time in collected form as Aliens, Vol 3: The Female War, the third of Dark Horse's "re-mastered" trade paperback versions of their Aliens comics serieses. It updated character names and events to fit in with accepted Aliens movie chronology. The Female War was edited by Lynn Adair and featured a new cover by Bolton.
The most recent re-issue of the story was as part of Dark Horse's new Aliens Omnibus line, again as The Female War in Aliens Omnibus: Volume 1 in July 2007.