Aliens: The Alien is a short comic book story published by Dark Horse Comics in the Dark Horse Presents #56 in November 1991. The story was written by John Arcudi with pencils by Tony Akins and layouts and inks by Paul Guinan. Lettering was by Willie Schubert. The story was edited by Randy Stradley. The original issue featured a jam cover with an Aliens segment by Guinan.
"The Alien" was first collected alongside a number of other DHP Aliens stories published up until that point in the special single-issue release Dark Horse Presents: Aliens Platinum Edition in April 1992. Here it was colored by Rachelle Menashe and the issue also featured a new cover by Simon Bisley. The colored version of the story was eventually again collected alongside other Aliens comics in Aliens: Omnibus, Volume 1, published in July 2007.
The story explains how the Earth became habitable again after the events of Aliens: Earth War (aka Aliens: Female War), thus setting the stage for the next Aliens miniseries. In the Aliens comics line, Aliens: The Alien was published concurrently with Aliens: Countdown (Sept. 1990 - Dec. 1991) and it was followed by Aliens: Genocide (Nov. 1991 - Feb. 1992).
- DHP's third giant-sized annual promises to be the best one yet!...a two-part prologue to Aliens: Genocide by writer John Arcudi and artists Tony Atkins and Paul Guinan (Terminator)...This is one issue you can't afford to miss. [from DHP #56]
- All of the stand-alone stories from the past issues of Dark Horse Presents in one volume, and in color for the first time! This package includes stories by...John Arcudi and Simon Bisley (DHP 5th Anniversary Special)... This volume is colored by Rachelle Menashe and Chris Chalenor. All wrapped up in a stunning new cover painting by Simon Bisley. [from DHP: Aliens Platinum Edition]
The President of the United States and his ministers are called to Gateway Station, where they are appointed to meet with the Space Jockey who is orbiting the Earth and reshaping the planet through terraforming. The meeting is actually an assassination attempt that helps free humanity from potential subjugation.
Behind the Scenes
This long unsung short story serves as an important prologue to both Aliens: Earth War (aka Aliens: Female War) and Aliens: Genocide, taking place between the two stories, and serves the pivotal role in explaining how the Earth became habitable again after the events at the end of Aliens: Book I and Earth War, at which point the Earth was apparently left a nuclear irradiated waste with a Space Jockey vessel hovering in orbit and conducting terraforming of the whole planet via an energy beam.
The subsequent explanation allowed for the plausibility of all of the events that followed in Genocide and every other Aliens and AVP story since.
John Arcudi is a veteran Aliens and Predator writer who has worked on various stories for both series. Tony Akins and Paul Guinan also worked on the Aliens: Colonial Marines series. UK-based artist Simon Bisley is world renown for his painted fantasy-style artwork on titles such as Judge Dredd, Lobo, and Heavy Metal Magazine.