Maxon and his mother live on a Waylon-Yutani compound on a planet beyond Earth. One night, Maxon wakes up to the compound on fire and something attacking the colony. One of such things is on his mother’s head, but she seems to fight it off. She takes Maxon, and the two brave through the alien attack in the hopes of making it to the evac shuttle, but the creatures are everywhere, killing everyone in their path.
Aliens: Dust to Dust #1 plays the Alien formula very well. There is not build-up; the threat starts from page one. Maxon and his mother are in the dark as to what the Xenomorphs are, and their survival is mostly accomplished through circumstance and sheer luck. The tension is at a fever pitch throughout the read, and it’s both exciting and unnerving. You are also able to grasp the sheer horror going through Maxon as he witnesses all the death and destruction thanks to the panel sequencing, which is handled very adeptly in this book.
If you know Alien at all, you likely pegged Maxon’s mother as dead from the start with that description. The problem is that I’m decently sure no one has ever survived having a Face-Hugger attached to them in this franchise, and, even if she must die, I’m not sure the comic plays it right. Timing is everything with this kind of thing, and killing her off in the first issue isn’t exactly the most effective timing. It doesn’t help that the comic keeps reminding you that she’s unwell, but it doesn’t work as a ticking clock either.
Maxon will presumably be the sole main character from here on out, and we’ll have to see how he shakes out as a protagonist.
Gabriel Hardman’s artwork is absolutely fantastic. A lot of the tension and terror comes from simply how he constructs the world. Shadows are played with a lot, and the detailing is great. The first time you see a full Xenomorph, it is emerging from the shadows in a near full-page panel, and it looks awesome. Rain Beredo’s color work is muted to steel-grays and cold blues, and it makes the world look all the better.
Aliens: Dust to Dust #1 is a tense starting point for this comic, and Hardman nails it on both the scripting and the art. While I had my complaints about how the Face-Hugger situation is handled, the book works in almost every other regard. I definitely recommend checking this one out. Give it a read.
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