Aliens (aka Aliens, Vol. 1; collected as Aliens: Book One and more recently as Aliens: Outbreak) is a six-issue limited series published bi-monthly by Dark Horse Comics from July 1988 to July 1989, set in the fictional Alien universe. It was written by Mark Verheiden and illustrated by Mark A. Nelson. The series featured covers by Mark A. Nelson, was lettered by Willie Schubert and edited by Randy Stradley.
Released to tremendous fan response, the series became an early hit for the two-year old Dark Horse Comics, inaugurating a whole series of Aliens comics for the company. It became part one of a three part story arc continued in Aliens (Series 2) and concluded in Aliens: Earth War.
Originally intended as a direct sequel and continuation to James Cameron's Aliens, the story featured the film characters of Rebecca Jorden and Corporal Dwayne Hicks after the events of the second film. (A later series also included the further adventures of Lt. Ellen Ripley.)
After the release of the film Alien³, which featured the deaths of Newt, Corporal Hicks and Ripley, in order to keep keep these stories relevant to the Alien film franchise, Dark Horse changed the names and therefore identities of the characters for future printings and novel adaptations.
In these reissues and adaptations--and in all other following Aliens stories which referenced Book One and Book Two, Newt became Billie while Hicks was now known as Wilks.
The changes were actually first incorporated into a novelized adaptation of the first Aliens series entitled Aliens: Earth Hive and released by Bantam Books in 1992 with the updated character names/identities used, kicking off the current series of novels.
The comics themselves were then edited, renamed Aliens: Outbreak and Aliens: Nightmare Asylum, and reprinted in collected editions. The first series was also recolored, as Book One had originally been published in black and white.
The success of the first Aliens series ensured that the series would continue, and in the Aliens comics line Aliens (Series 1) was published concurrently with the short spin-off story Aliens: Theory of Alien Propagation and was then followed by Aliens (Series 2) a year later.
Official description of individual issues: In deep space, a salvage crew is attacked by seemingly unstoppable monsters. The marines are called in, but they need someone with experience. Soon Hicks (the horribly scarred survivor from Aliens) and Newt (now almost eighteen) find themselves on a mission to locate and destroy the Aliens' homeworld!
Hicks breaks Newt out of the mental hospital where she is being held, and the two of them, along with a crack squad of battle-hardened Marines, blast-off for the Aliens' homeworld. But is the Alien menace really as far away as Hicks believes, or is the threat closer to Earth than anyone imagines?
As the ship carrying Hicks, Newt and the company of Colonial Marines nears the Aliens' Homeworld, a strange paranoia begins to grip the people of Earth. Thousands begin to suffer recurring nightmares about the Aliens, leading Dr. Orona to a terrible realization: there is already an alien--a queen--on Earth!
All hell breaks loose as Hicks, Newt and the Marines arrive on the Aliens' homeworld! While back on Earth, a misguided religious fanatic frees the Alien Queen captured by the Bionational Corp.! Even if Hicks and Newt survive their mission, will there be an Earth to come home to?
Hicks, Newt and their crew of Marines are finding conditions on the Alien homeworld to be more than they bargained for as they discover that there are things even the Aliens are afraid of! Meanwhile, a mad, fanatical preacher has loosed the corporation's captive Queen on an unsuspecting Earth--to force mankind into an unholy "Communion"!
This is it! The dramatic conclusion to the hottest miniseries of the year! Their mission to the Aliens homeworld a costly failure, Hicks, Newt, and what's left of their Marine contingent return to Earth--only to find conditions horribly changed and mankind on the run from ravaging Alien hordes!
Official description of re-released trade-paperback: Wilks was a space marine with a near-fatal flaw: he had a heart. Billie was a child, the only survivor of a far-flung colony outpost. Thrown together in the last hellish night of an Alien invasion, Billie and Wilks helped each other get out alive. Thirteen years later, Wilks is in prison and Billie lives in a mental institution, the nightmare memories of the massacre at Rim seared into her mind. Now the pair get a chance to be reunited. To go back to that outpost where it all happened, to finally end the business between themselves . . . and the Aliens.
This is the very first of the remastered Aliens trade paperbacks! Dark Horse is going back through each of its past Aliens graphic novels and revising images and text to bring the entire story into a single line of continuity with the motion pictures and the wildly popular Bantam novels.
Once a black-and-white collection, this remastered edition boasts full-color art, an updated script, a new John Bolton cover, and a gallery of never-before-seen Mark A. Nelson art! Get ready for the remastered line!
Aliens: Outbreak starts 10 years after Aliens and Alien 3 and 190 years before Alien Resurrection. Both Wilks and Billie have been struggling with the aftermath of their encounter with the Xenomorphs. Billie is in a mental institution, and, after nothing seems to help her, the doctors decide to wipe her memory. Wilks has never gotten over the aliens and the decimation of his squad, so he agrees to go on a mission to the alien homeworld to recover some eggs and to destroy one of the hives (the hive destroying serves no purpose other than to satisfy Wilks's hatred). Wilks goes to visit Billie before he goes, only to find out that her memory is about to be wiped. Wilks believes Billie to be the only thing that marks his existence and the only thing that marks his squad's sacrifice, so he rescues her and takes her to the homeworld. Their spaceship is followed by another, though...
Meanwhile, strange things are happening on Earth. A scientific corporation has acquired an alien Queen and begins harvesting eggs. A weird cult that believes the aliens to be God's spiritual rebirth breaks in and they all give themselves up for facehugging. Earth is overrun.
On the homeworld, the team land (Billie has fallen in love with a soldier named Bueller) and are attacked by the following band of soldiers, who want the eggs for themselves. They give up their weapons and stand down, but the attackers are forced into the hive by the various other hostile species on the planet. The team gather weapons and foolishly go into the hive to rescue their attackers. They rescue a few and most of them get out, but not before the reason they so stupidly went in is revealed: they are all synthetic humans.
Billie is distraught, Bueller makes it back, but is ripped in half (revealing he is actually a synthetic) and Wilks almost kills them all by waiting until he has set the charges to take off, but they make it and go back to Earth. As soon as they get there, they have to leave, and are told by a general that they are following a standard military procedure against the aliens: they are retreating. There is a mass exodus of Earth, most of the survivors being military. Bueller, Wilks and Billie get on a ship and flee Earth.
When Aliens #1 hit the stands in July 1988 it was met with tremendous response, leading to six reprintings in order to fulfill demand from fans.
After it's initial comic book release from July 1988-July 1999, the 1st Aliens miniseries was first collected and released in trade paperback form in November 1989 under the title Aliens: Book One, with a new painted cover by artist Dave Dorman. The tradepaperback also collected the spin-off short Theory of Alien Propagation from Dark Horse Presents #24.
The series was again collected in June 1990 for release as a deluxe hard cover edition, foil stamped with a dust jacket featuring a brand new Aliens oil painting by Nelson, again including the DHP side story and also including all of Nelson's frontpieces from all printings of the series.
In Sept. 1993, the series was again collected for inclusion in The Compleat Aliens, a similarly deluxe limited edition hard cover which for the first time collected all of the early Dark Horse Aliens comics including: Aliens Book One; Aliens Book Two; Aliens: Earth War; and Dark Horse Presents: Aliens. It was edited by Kij Johnson. This slipcovered edition was Smythe-sewn and featured a foil-stamped, bonded-leather binding with specialy printed end papers and included a special galary featuring many of the collections' original covers and a signature page with new Aliens art from of the artists for the original comics and signed by many of the creators. It was limited to only 500 copies.
In Aug. 1996, the series was again collected and released as a low cost trade paperback, but this time with edited content under the new title Aliens, Vol. 1: Outbreak. This release was part of Dark Horse's "remastered" Aliens Library Editions series of reprints which attempted to bring the content of all of Dark Horse's previously released Aliens TPBs in line with Aliens movie continuity. Thus, the new character names created for the 1992 novelization of Aliens: Book One (Aliens: Earth Hive) were used. The Outbreak tradepaperback was edited by Lynn Adair and featured a new cover by John Bolton.
This version of the series, again titled Aliens: Outbreak, was finally collected as part of Aliens Omnibus: Volume 1 in July 2007.