Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven Hardcover – Jan 3 2012
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As you would expect, the reason the crew is missing is that an Alien has taken up residency, brought to the station by a freighter. The Alien attacks the new team and a quest to survive ensues. Standard Aliens fare is what you expect and what you get. Fans of Aliens who are looking for what amounts to a very short story will find twenty minutes of enjoyment here. But for the rest of us, not so much.
Sharpe does a serviceable job with his drawings and there is something to be said for a writer who can also illustrate. But the story is where this graphic novel fails - the story just doesn't work for readers who have now lived with this universe and the survival-horror genre for decades. We are more sophisticated than the shallow and unremarkable story here and expect better.
For instance, let's ignore the shallowness of the story where once again a crew is sent to a station/ ship/ planet where danger looms, and also ignore that the crew going to this station is not military or ready for that danger, rather scientific, with no explanation of why they would go there since they would be looking for other scientists that they presume to be alive so their talents would simply duplicate talents already aboard the station... let's ignore all that. Let's just focus on discrepancies, like, when some start to die, as we would expect coming against a creature better suited for killing than they, yet then inexplicably the surviving human(s) figure out how to kill the creature on the very last page at the very last second but without expressing the plan to the reader. One page they are about to die and the next they somehow kill the creature. What? Everything seems under-developed. Consider throw-away attempts by the author to add depth by alluding to some kind of conspiracy by an interstellar corporation but never gives any kind of detail about the corporation or why there should be any conspiracy at all. Was the corporation aware of the Alien and testing it by throwing scientists to run away from it? What would be the point of the conspiracy? Another issue: at one point there are three scientists alive and then in the next section there are four. I went back and re-read that section several times and it just looks like a mistake in the artwork or a change of mind in the story.
As far as a quick (40 page) story goes with Aliens, fans of the series and of the survival-horror genre may find something worth reading. But Dark Horse and other graphic novel publishers have done so much better in recent years utilizing the graphic novel to tell stories that are worthy of adding "novel" to graphic. Shallow fodder like this set's the industry back and gives evidence to those who (wrongly) say that graphic novels are long form kiddie books.
I cannot recommend it on its merits and also because of what it represents: a quick hit dash for cash.
This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Controllers
Review Source: NetGalley
Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven is a short - 40 page - graphic novel novella set in the epic Alien Universe. It may not be the engrossing 140 page graphic novel we comic lovers are use to; however, wrapped up in these 40 pages is a fast paced tantalizing story of one rescue teams frightening journey of survival. What is lurking behind every wall, in the shafts, and deep within the shadows? Aliens, and not the friendly kind.
A rescue team is trapped, and soon discovers they are not alone in the underground station. What seemed like a simple mission has turned into a colossal nightmare. Trying to flee to safety the team must decide whose lives are more important, theirs or the people above. The story is brief, but what it lacks in length it makes up for in art style. Vibrant blues, greens, yellows, and reds grace the pages changing the tone and mood of the story from frame to frame. It's rich and exciting, gritty and purposeful. And just the way I like my horror comics.
Overall, Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven may not be an awesome five star book, but it is a fun quick read fans of the Alien Series should love. If you a looking for a quick horror comic fix then I suggest this graphic novel novella and all it's beautifully artist glory.
Out of fear that my review may run longer than the content of this entire book, i aim to keep it succinct.
Lots of problems with this cursory story beginning with it's impoverished and incomplete plot.
That any Aliens fan would give this story a stellar review is a travesty, and frankly I am disappointed in Dark Horse and the writer and in anyone who willingly attached themselves to this project only to deliver one of the most inadequate, perfunctory, immature stories in the Aliens series.
The book description used in all its promotions includes a buildup talk about Europa, "Deep beneath the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa" etc, etc. but, for them to allude so much about Europa, there is just not enough shown!
Supposedly, according to the (generous) description, a lot of things are going on inside this book. Realistically, the official book description IS essentially the entire content, but told better than what's actually within this graphic novel.
My summary -
PROS: The artwork in "Fast Track" is really the only salvation, having a true gritty feel, with interesting illustrations that cast hues to set the mood; could have been real creepy with a better narration. I give the one star for the art alone.
CONS: Hardly a novella, the hardcover is thicker than the content, and the lack of content cheapens this read, making it quite unworthy of a hardcover at all. The planet's underexposure was a major issue for me, along with undeveloped and confusing characters.
What a waste of a book, this incomplete story leaves too many unanswered questions with all it's discrepancies and diminishes the reader's experience. Overall, I cannot in good conscience recommend this book.