The Alien franchise is an all time favorite, and since I can’t get a decent film version every few months it’s great that Dark Horse satisfies my need with these titles. So when the chance came to review Aliens: Fast Track To Heaven, there was no way I would pass on it. Liam Sharp handles everything in this story of a seven man crew that has the misfortune of running into one of the galaxy’s most proficient killing machines ever created.
The ever present Weyland-Yutani Corporation sends a small team to investigate a massive space elevator where communications have been lost and another team is possibly stranded inside. The only immediate danger suspected is traveling down the shaft of the old space station to the planet, so no one is prepared for what is to come during what should be a routine mission. Now, we’ve seen this set up before when it comes to this franchise, but Sharp shows great skill in keeping this just as exciting as if it was brand new. I even think that Sharp knows this, because he even has one of the characters refer to the hard ass of the group as a “walking cliche.” This was exactly what I was thinking at the time and thought it was great that Sharp actually owned that in his story. He was also able to develop pretty interesting characters in such a short amount of time. It’s pretty much established that even though everyone comes to see how the Alien will kill its victims, it’s the people in the story that help solidify it. We get a pretty nice, well rounded team here, and though some don’t last too long, Sharp doesn’t treat them all as throw away characters.
Sharp also makes this one fantastic looking book to look at while you’re reading his story. Some of what puts it over is the fact that the mood is immediately set in the first couple of pages with just the visuals. What I also liked is that the character who was referred to as a “walking cliche” stands out because of his character design. His look just screams that this guy has been through some serious $#!% in his life, and even though we’re meeting him in the middle you want to know the story behind his disfigurement. There’s also the reveal shot of the Alien that is just a great looking page, though for some reason the art towards the end of the first attack looked very different from the earlier panels. It wasn’t bad, but it took me out of the story for a quick moment, though things were back to normal right after that page. And what Alien story is complete without the always cool chest-bursting scene which Sharp gives to us as one huge and in your face splash page. Man, that looked painful!
I do wish it was longer, only because all of Sharp’s work in this book was another positive installment in the Alien franchise. He doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel here, but instead he customizes it to fit his tale and deliver a quality book worth your time and money. So if you’re a fan of Alien or just looking for a solid sci-fi/horror short story, then pick this up off the shelf and give it a try. Sharp and Dark Horse definitely got this one right!