• Aliens: Dust To Dust #2



    Aliens: Dust To Dust #2
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: July 11th, 2017.
    Written by: Gabriel Hardman
    Illustrated by: Gabriel Hardman
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    “LOSS OF HOME. Loss of family. Loss of hope. Twelve-year-old Maxon is experiencing it all. Right. This. Minute.”

    That’s the first issue in a nutshell. And obviously this second chapter of Gabriel Hardman’s Aliens story picks up where that inaugural one left off. The ship that Maxon and his mother made it to is having trouble getting up – this is complicated even more when the chestburster festering inside his mother’s torso decides it’s time to escape. Maxon takes his seatbelt off just as the ship is getting air, but one of the other passengers is savvy enough to grab him. The ship hits a pocket and they’re off, leaving Maxon with nothing to concentrate on except his mother’s corpse laid out before him.

    With the ship stable the Captain comes back to check on her passengers. She’s told that there’s ‘one in here’ and she decides, since there’s some time for them to mature, everyone else should stay in their seats while she fills them in on their situation: alien acid that hit the ship at the port ate through the hull, so they can’t reach a proper orbit BUT they’ve been in contact with the U.S.S. Carver and they’re going to send a shuttle to get them. But of course, now they risk contaminating the Carver. While the grownups talks, Maxon sees the alien, grabs a gun and attempts to take it out but is stopped – which is good, because a stray bullet could decompress the cabin and kill everyone inside. It’s also not good, because the alien then proceeds to tear the throat out of one of the passengers.

    And then, of course, just as the shuttle approaches, their stabilizers malfunction and send Maxon and the others hurtling back. There are casualties, but Maxon isn’t one of them. He befriends a young woman named Sinta but is then pulled off the ship, having to leave his mother’s body there. And then they find out what happened to the Carver…

    Gabriel Hardman does a really solid job of building tension in this second issue. Max is clearly now the central character in the story, which makes sense – it’s not like Aliens (the movie) didn’t have heavy involvement from a younger character put in a situation not too dissimilar from what we see Max going through and as such, this ‘feels’ right for an Aliens (the comic) story. The whole ‘dust to dust’ angle is a good one – the world has gone to shit, things are pretty hopeless here. People are starting to act the way that people act in situations like this – some abide by logic, playing the odds, others start to panic, or to put themselves first. Egos are starting to clash, we’re starting to get a feel for who the ‘good guys’ really are… it’s coming together nicely. And the art? It’s up to Hardman’s typically high standards. There’s good detail, interesting panel layouts and nicely illustrated facial expressions on certain characters at certain times, the kind that properly communicate to the reader the tension and emotion that they’re going through.

    And of course, this issue ends with a bit of a cliffhanger, ensuring that those hooked by this issue and the one that came before it will be back for the next installment to see where all of this goes. Great art, great storytelling – what’s not to love?