3 out of 5
And most underwhelming comic event of the year goes to…. Well, probably some Marvel thing. But Life and Death puts in a runner-up claim.
To be fair, though, no one was tagging L&D with “this will change everything!” type nonsense; Annett’s been pretty straight with us throughout, and if focused on what could be considered the “core” story – which is on the planet, with the AvP war and engineers kicking about in the background – this has been a pretty good sci-fi romp. I imagine a version of this not latched to an existing property, which would remove some of the plot finagling that occurred and allow it to be cut down to story necessities, and it would slot right in with Dan’s 2000 AD stuff.
But that’s not what it was. So we had detours in space, and in caves, and character decisions given weight by the mythology and not, directly, the story, which sticks the experience, overall, in a kind of unaffecting limbo. And this wrap-up extended one-shot makes sure to rather neatly tuck the remaining pieces into that limbo.
Really, the only thing left to resolve was getting off the planet, which I know seems like a major deal, but once all the alien factions were introduced, the climax became last series’ exciting battle. Now is the after scene, when the bad guy jumps back out of the bushes for a final “boo,” and Abnett gets to decide whether or not to pull a Tales from the Crypt downer ending or let us get out alive. To which Ill say: a plus side to the expanded 17-issue plotting does allow Dan to play around with that concluding decision, and he makes the relative most out of it.
Brian Albert Thies and Rain Beredo again deliver the best match for the murky tone of the Alien / Predator world.
A required ending to a non-ending series (in the sense that we can’t really “conclude” the Weyland-Yutani story), life and death’s final chapter wraps things up effectively enough to satisfy.