Xenomorphs meet superheroes in Marvel's upcoming “Aliens vs. Avengers” comic

"Just how atmospherically and well-designed everything is has always gotten my creative juices flowing," Jonathn Hickman teases of the new crossover.

In space, no one can hear you scream, "Avengers Assemble!"

Over the course of the Alien franchise, the fearsome creatures known as Xenomorphs have encountered — and eviscerated — all types of enemies, including workers, soldiers, prisoners, scientists, and even Predators. But this summer, they'll reach a new level when they come face to face with superheroes.

Now that Disney owns the rights to both Marvel and Alien (the latter stemming from the studio's 2019 acquisition of Fox assets), Entertainment Weekly can exclusively report that these two franchises are colliding in the crossover comic Aliens vs. Avengers, from writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic.

That creative team last worked together on the Secret Wars event comic (which has been teased as a potential future Marvel Cinematic Universe film) and are two of Marvel's most accomplished creators. Ribic handled art on Marvel's recent Eternals comic (which was miles better than the movie), while Hickman has been busy with all kinds of projects over the last few years, from revitalizing the X-Men to bringing back the Ultimate Universe.

"I've never worked on a licensed or 'non-superhero' property the entire time I've been at Marvel, so when all of this came together almost two years ago, I kind of jumped at the opportunity," Hickman tells EW. "I love the Aliens universe and the mythology, and obviously just how atmospherically and well-designed everything is has always gotten my creative juices flowing. It was tricky finding a way to make these two things work together, but I think Esad and I landed on something that works for fans of both franchises."

<p>Everett; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/ Everett</p> Scenes from 'Alien' and 'The Avengers'

Everett; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures/ Everett

Scenes from 'Alien' and 'The Avengers'

Aliens vs. Avengers definitely sounds like a strange combination. The superheroes are accustomed to fighting villains who wield fists and energy blasts, not parasites who burrow into bodies and lay eggs. (The Brood, a Marvel alien race clearly inspired by Alien, are typically a problem for the X-Men.) Meanwhile, the Xenomorphs are used to ripping apart flesh-and-blood humans, not living gods with indestructible skin and mythic weapons. But Hickman suggests the pairing will make more sense than it seems.

"Probably one of the coolest things about the project is how we've found really fun ways to 'Avengerize' Aliens and 'alien-up' Avengers," Hickman says. "I think fans will be surprised at how elegantly some of those things fit together. It really turned out to be a chocolate-and-peanut-butter situation."

The brief plot synopsis for the crossover says, "It's all led to this: Xenomorphs reach Earth! The perfect organism meets a planet of superhumans. Who will be first to fall?"

That means this comic will show something that has never been seen in a proper Alien film. In fact, stopping the Xenomorphs from reaching Earth has been treated as so sacrosanct that it's the motivation behind the protagonists' climactic actions in Alien, Alien 3, and Prometheus, to name a few. But this series is set a little into the future, outside the typical continuity for either Alien or Avengers stories, which gives some room to play.

<p>Esad Ribic for Marvel Comics</p> 'Aliens vs. Avengers'

Esad Ribic for Marvel Comics

'Aliens vs. Avengers'

The first issue of Aliens vs. Avengers will hit stores July 24, just ahead of the Aug. 16 theatrical release of Alien: Romulus. Check out Ribic's first cover image above.

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