Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer/Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Release Date: 25th April 2018
The latest Aliens offering from Dark Horse, Dust to Dust sees Gabriel Hardman delivering a punchy opening issue that delivers the same frantic, heart-thumping terror that helped make James Cameron’s 1986 classic such a runaway success.
The series is based around Maxon, a youngster living on a Weyland Yutani colony who is awakened by a full-on Xenomorph outbreak tearing through the place he calls (called?) home.
The bigger story is practically non-existent for the time being, with the bulk of this first issue taking the form of a frantic race for survival on the part of Maxon and his mother. There are a few vague hints at broader storyline threads along the way, but for the most part Hardman wisely opts to put Maxon front-and-centre throughout, letting us experience every heart-stopping moment through his young, terrified eyes.
As anyone previously familiar with his work might expect, Hardman also does a stellar job with the visual side of the book, utilising his typically scratchy, kinetic style to bring the chaos of the Xenomorph incursion to life. There are some intentionally hazy panels where the Aliens themselves blend into the shadowy backdrop, an effect which colourist Rain Beredo helps to underscore with his muted, claustrophobic palette, and the whole thing has a grounded, visceral quality that really helps to immerse the reader in Maxon’s plight.
The series is billed as a “coming of age” story in an Aliens-infested world, so it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of approach Hardman takes with the narrative as it unfolds. Are we going to see the immediate effects that the colony’s destruction has on Maxon, or will we fast-forward to a scarred, traumatised adult who finds himself forever changed the frantic moments of his near-death experience? There’s limitless potential here for sure, and it’s that ambiguity that makes picking up the second issue almost a foregone conclusion after reading the first.
As an actual story, this new series is clearly still in its incubation stage waiting for the right time to reveal itself, but as a slice of pulse-pounding Aliens horror, Dust to Dust is a veritable chestburster of frantic terror, and as such comes highly recommended.