So I was looking for something to get me in the mood for Prometheus this week. I of course had the option of rewatching the first two movies again, but to be honest, I probably know those forwards and backwards. So I hit the long boxes and dug up some Dark Horse comics from the 90’s. ALIENS: Labyrinth was a six-issue series that came out in 1997. Aside from Genocide, Purge, and Pig from that same year, it is what I consider the companion piece to Alien: Resurrection, if not the apology for it. And for those of you right now overselling your butt-hurt, note that I said companion first before apology, so don’t be pricks.
Labyrinth, by Jim Woodring and Kilian Plunkett, follows two marines as they uncover the secrets of a seemingly legit military research facility. While the whole mad scientist trope has been tread and retread a dozen times over, Woodring manages to weave a tale with an engaging backstory that takes us where none of us have ever been — into the heart of the hive itself. If you think getting taken by xenomorphs and getting face-raped all in the space of a few hours is bad, try two weeks. Three. Yep, this story goes there.
Plunkett’s art is bold and unapologetic. While the Aliens franchise has always conjured up thoughts of dark corridors and elaborate shadowplay, Labyrinth boasts a very stark European feel, with not as many pitch black scenes as one would expect. The horror is out in the open, and whether that’s to the story’s detriment or not is debatable.
The titular labyrinth is an actual physical place in the story, an atrocity that is made all too clear as our two heroes delve into the myriad secrets of the sinister science facility. But the title also serves as a theme for the series as a whole — something akin to being lost in the darkest recesses of one’s mind, and in our most desperate final moment, realizing that the monster was you all along.