The Trono colony on LV-871 is under attack. Emergency evacuations are ordered. Evac shuttles are taking off. All twelve-year-old Maxon and his mom have to do is make it to the spaceport. Except between them and it are . . . Aliens!
One of the great things about what Dark Horse has done with its Aliens comics is it has mostly allowed them to exist as a series of anthology tales told in a shared but not always connected universe. As readers, we get to see the concept in a multitude of ways. In Aliens: Dust to Dust writer/artist Gabriel Hardman right off the bat distills the Alien concept back to its horror roots. He opens with an eerie panel showing a small, frightened child softly saying “Mommy?” This immediately sets the tone for what follows. What we get is a tightly told, well-paced and suspenseful narrative that also has a good enough sense to develop its characters. It’s solid comics storytelling. It also has a great ending that reminds us how much Aliens has always played so well on primal fears and shocking moments.
Hardman also does the art, with coloring by Rain Beredo. The two artists work in tandem to create a very hand drawn feel to the illustrations. They also use the layouts and panels to create claustrophobia. This adds to the suspense and anxiety of the story. It also has grit, mood, and atmosphere (qualities found in the first two films in the franchise).
There is also a nice bit of lettering done by Michael Heisler, who has some solid use of sparse word placement for sound effects to help create a sort of ‘jump scare’ moment when you turn pages and read across panels.
If you are looking for a good Aliens story and the last few movies have left you wanting more of what made the first two films so great, definitely the comics is where to go. And Aliens: Dust to Dust is the perfect choice for just about anyone. It delivers the start of a tense horror story and all you really need is a few basic details about the mythology.