Adrenaline-Fueled Horror Collected In Aliens: Dust To Dust TP

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.
A blood-curdling coming-of-age story by master storyteller Gabriel Hardman.

“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 . . .”
Aliens: Dust to Dust TP opens with twelve year old Maxon woken abruptly as all hell breaks loose around him. Takes all of six panels before we see our first facehugger. Five pages in, we get our first full grown xenomorph. Running and gunfire, explosions and bodies. We’re on planet, and shit just went sideways.
Most Aliens stories have a kind of honeymoon phase through the first chapter. At the very least, through a few pages. Crew’s on some exotic planet or in a space hauler. We get to know them a little. Some are huge assholes and we can’t wait for them to get their comeuppance. Others kind of grow on us and we hope they at least make it past the opening act. None of that nonsense here. Cover, title page, klaxon horns, mayhem.

Gabriel Hardman drags this kid and his ma 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 are fewer things in a parent’s life that will come before their child’s safety. Through script and art, Hardman delivers a strong sense of urgency that goes beyond running from big, bad uglies. This mama is fully willing to throw herself between a xeno and her baby to get him to the perceived safety of one of the remaining escape vessels.
The art itself is frenetic and dirty. The panels get stretched and torqued as the action cranks up, and there’s a dusty, banged up quality to these images that lean into both the horror and science fiction genres. 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.

Aliens: Dust to Dust is a delirious ball of frantic, adrenaline-fueled horror. From the opening sequence, things seem pretty hopeless. Then they get worse. And then again.
This was only a four-chapter mini, so things progress (and then digress) quickly. There isn’t a whole lot of courtship before getting thrown into the story, but seriously, how much exposition do you need? We’ve had almost four decades to get acquainted with these things. They haven’t really changed much. Run.

Aliens: Dust to Dust TP collects the complete limited series, issues 1-4. Published by Dark Horse Books, released 14 May 2019. Script and art/cover by Gabriel Hardman, color by Rain Beredo, letters by Michael Heisler, rear cover by Carlos D’Anda.

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