"Aliens: Dust to Dust #2" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written and Illustrated by Gabriel Hardman
Colored by Rain Beredo
Lettered by Michael Heisler
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 11th, 2018
Maxon is having a very bad day. His mother frantically woke him up as the space station they lived in was under attack by xenomorphs. They managed to get to safety on a ship taking off only for his mom's chest to explode from a baby alien jumping out. Now he's stuck on this ship with a bunch of terrified people and a tiny monster looking to murder them all. And I thought my childhood sucked.
Aliens: Dust to Dust is relentless. It starts out strong and somehow gets more intense with this issue. It has to do with the close quarters. This ship is basically one big room. There is no place for anyone to hide and absolutely no section where they can fortify a defense. It's like if a rabid monkey was let loose on a school bus. The wheels on the bus will not save you.
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The ship's movements are not helping the situation. It's off to a rocky launch and it's not guaranteed to get to safety. This throws the passengers around like rag dolls. Writer / artist Gabriel Hardman shows this in some awesome, non-traditional panel layouts. The artwork itself is exciting, but the layout guides you through it in new and interesting ways, so you're constantly on your toes.
Throughout all this madness, there's one moment of peace. It happens after the chest burster runs off and hides for a second and the ship pushes up past the clouds to reveal a sun shining in the sky. The ship looks small and quiet in this brief instant. We're reminded of the vast universe that surrounds these people before they plummet back down to the planet like the first drop from a terrifying roller coaster.
Those clouds make for some dreary conditions planet side. Just about everything is grey and bleak. The passengers may have survived their initial encounter with a xenomorph, but there's little to no hope on the ground. It's tough to muster up the courage to continue on when there's nothing but foreboding rock in every direction.
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In the scheme of things, none of the passengers really matter. They're all going to be cannon fodder once the xenomorphs catch up to them. With the exception of Maxon (probably), their days are numbered. His story is the focus here and we don't know a whole lot about him. We don't need a full history though. For now, it's enough that he's a scared kid in over his head and he just watched his mom die in a horrifying way. I can't imagine what must be going through the poor guy's head.
It doesn't help that Maxon looks so very innocent in every single shot he's in. Colorist Rain Beredo makes his blue eyes shine through even the darkest sequences. I half expect his image to show up on a milk carton or one of those old Sally Struthers infomercials.
Aliens: Dust to Dust hits with a breakneck pace. You don't have a moment to catch your breath as these poor people are put through trial after trial just to stay alive. Their journey is far from complete, as the threat of the xenomorphs looms ready to tear them apart and feast on their insides.