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Aliens : Inhuman Condition (HC Graphic Novella)

by lucstclair on April 17, 2013

On the ice planet of Nivalis-4, the corporation known as Weyland-Yutani scientifically creates and manufactures artificial beings for a variety of different functions. Most our created for domestic work, while others are designed for off-world labour. The GB artificials are the toughest of them all, built for hard combat and able to withstand extreme temperatures. Jean Dupaul’s job is to teach the artificials about humanity to better interact with their human counterparts. The GBs routinely exterminate hives of aliens that have made their home here, the aliens are mostly in a dormant state because of the extreme cold, but have started to quickly adapt. After a tragic accident, Dupaul’s sanity is in question, as the line between humans, artificials & xenomorphs becomes all too blurry. Which species truly are the monsters here?
 

The Team

Written by John Layman (Chew, Detective Comics), illustrated Sam Kieth (The Hollows, The Maxx) and coloured by John Kalisz. Originally published as stories from Dark Horse Presents #12-17.
 

The Pros & Cons

This is essentially an Aliens story, but it seems to focus more on human beings and their relationships with the artificial beings, beings like Ash & Bishop from the first two movies. Like the replicants from Blade Runner, this story asks if the artificials are more human or are they just expendable machines to be used as we please. To Weyland-Yutani, they’re things, tools & property to be made, sold and turn a sizable profit. To Jean Dupaul, quite the opposite. They’re also a subplot about a teddy bear named “Bear” who may or may not be an artificial being itself. The story doesn’t spell it out for you, it just keeps you guessing, which I thought was interesting.
 
Writer John Layman does a good job of laying out the characters and starts the first few panels with the story’s ending. It gave it a true sense of mystery as to what the hell happened and when you get to the actual end, it all comes to a terrifying realization. The cherry on top of this acid blood cake is Sam Kieth’s illustrations, which are always a treat. This is Kieth’s 2nd time at drawing an Aliens story, the 1st being Aliens: Female War from way back in the late 80’s/early 90’s and it’s a welcome feast for the eyes. With his round hipped woman, beady-eyed androids, caricature like male characters and puppet like aliens, his style is weird and wonderful, which has made him a legend in the comic book world. He’s right up there with such talents as Bernie Wrightson, Kelly Jones & Richard Corben just to name a few.
 

The Outcome

There’s enough here to satisfy Aliens fan and non fans alike. Now it’s true that most Aliens comics end in tragedy, Humans are put into a general population of Aliens, the humans want to exploit the Aliens for profit and you know the rest. At least this one manages to do something different. It’s a gorgeous hard cover TPB priced at a measly 10$ and it’s definitely worth it.
 

Our Score:

8/10

A Look Inside