A mother and son bound by a shared terror–separated by an implacable alien force! A spaceship that should carry them away from the fear becomes a deathtrap!
It seems odd to say Aliens: Dust to Dust #2 slows up the pace when the opening sequence involves a brutal death by chestburster, but that just speaks to the breakneck pace of the series opener. Chapter one opened up with a cover, title page, then absolute mayhem. Young Maxon and his ma were woken in the middle of the night by blaring klaxons to dodge xenomorphs, fire, bodies, and flying debris in hopes of reaching one of the remaining escape vessels to get off planet and away from the ravaging horde.
The urgency Gabriel Hardman opened up with in the last book is still present, but it’s a completely different kind of terror. The passengers haven’t had a second to recover from the shock of fleeing LV-871 in the middle of the night before facing down a chestburster in extremely close quarters. Maxon, his ma, and a half dozen or so other refugees are stuck in this little tin can, and we get a whole four panels before the first major character leans into the batter’s box and takes one for the team.
This is the first issue where we have any real dialogue. Even though there isn’t much spoken, beyond screaming orders at each other and making plans around what to do next, we catch glimpses of how the social dynamic will shake out from this point forward. I already have a severe dislike for one of these cats. If the past is any indication of how these shows go, he’ll be one of the finalists.
I already spoke to the grittiness of Hardman’s linework, and it works brilliantly with the script. There’s a dirty, banged up quality to these panels, which plays to both the horror and science fiction genres. Rain Beredo pulls out a slightly brighter palette for this chapter, since we’ve now broken daylight on the planet’s surface, and Michael Heisler’s SFX scream off the page.
It’s still early, but I’m digging what Dust to Dust is bringing to the franchise. There’s not a whole lot of courtship before getting thrown into the story, but how much exposition do you need? We’ve had almost four decades to get acquainted with this threat. They haven’t changed much.
Aliens: Dust To Dust #2, published by Dark Horse Comics, released 11 July 2018. Script and art by Gabriel Hardman, color by Rain Beredo, letters by Michael Heisler.