Frantic, Adrenaline-Fueled Horror In Aliens: Dust To Dust #1

by Brendan M. Allen

In deep space, the Trono colony on the planet LV-871 finds itself under attack by mysterious and deadly creatures of unknown origin. Emergency evacuations are ordered and shuttles are taking off as the massacre sweeps the colony.
All that stands between 12-year-old Maxon and his mom making it to the safety of the spaceport… is a horde of Aliens! You’ll be gripping the edge of your seat as a mother and son fight for their lives against the deadliest monsters in the galaxy.

“Space is a pitiless expanse. Even if a hospitable speck of dust can be found for humanity to secure a foothold, there is no guarantee it is not also home to something else . . .”
Just in time for Alien Day, Dark Horse brings us Aliens: Dust to Dust #1. Gabriel Hardman pulls double duty, penning the script and pencilling the art. The story opens with twelve year old Maxon woken in the middle of the night as all hell is breaking loose around him. It takes all of ten panels before we see our first facehugger. Five pages later we get our first full grown xenomorph. Lots of running, gunfire, explosions and bodies. Zero exposition in this chapter. We’re on planet, and shit just went sideways.
Most of the Aliens books I’ve read up to this point have a kind of honeymoon through at least half the series opener. We’re on planet or in space, we get to know the crew a little. Some of them are assholes and we can’t wait for them to get their comeuppance. Others kind of grow on us and we hope they at least aren’t in the first wave of casualties. None of that here. Cover, title page, mayhem. Kid and mom on the run.
Gabriel Hardman drags the reader through LV-871 at a breakneck pace, but the action is easy to follow. There’s a strong sense of space, and the desperation is real. There’s no higher priority as a parent than getting your kid to safety. Through script and art, Hardman delivers a strong sense of urgency that goes beyond running from the big, bad uglies. Mama is fully willing to throw herself between xenomorphs and her baby to get him through.
The art itself is frenetic and dirty. The panels get stretched and torqued as the action cranks up. Xenomorph design is on point. These look a lot like the xenomorphs Tristan Jones brought in Aliens: Defiance. Everything appropriately looks like it’s being lit by emergency egress lighting. Colors by Rain Beredo add to the tension and emphasize the claustrophobia that every great Aliens story needs.
This whole first issue is a delirious ball of frantic, adrenaline-fueled horror. We’re promised “Things get worse” in the next installment. Right, then. Let’s kick this pig.

Aliens: Dust to Dust #1, published by Dark Horse Comics, releases 25 April 2018. Script, art and cover by Gabriel Hardman, color by Rain Beredo, letters by Michael Heisler. Variant cover available by Carlos D’Anda.

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