Aliens: Dust to Dust by Gabriel Hardman

details
Title: Aliens.
Story arc: Dust to Dust.
Writer(s): Gabriel Hardman.
Artist(s)Gabriel Hardman.
Colourist(s): Rain Beredo.
Letterer(s): Michael Heisler.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: May 7th 2019.
Pages: 96.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror.
ISBN13: 9781506707921.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Have you ever fell in love with a story to the point where you could go day in day out looking for similar stories written by other creators but set in the same world? There are countless works of fiction that are seen as an homage to the original piece and essentially recreate, reimagine or expand the universe that took the world by storm the first time they graced our lives. Many see this as one of the greatest forms of respect similar to forgers in the world of artists as it shows that a person’s work is considered so good that everyone else can only look to reproduce it if they want to even reach that same quality or level of creativity. The Alien and Predator franchises saw a similar phenomenon over the years with the movies having blown out of the water the sci-fi horror genre. With over 40 years having passed since the first movie’s release, considered a cult-classic by most, if not all geeks around the world, it is only logical to see so many new stories being told with countless references to the movies.

What is Aliens: Dust to Dust about? This four-issue limited graphic novel follows the adventures of twelve-year-old Maxon and his mother as they attempt to escape an Alien infestation, clinging on to themselves in hopes of finding refuge somewhere far from the hot zone. As the story progresses, it quickly explores the intense and uncontrollable environment that affects the psychology of each individual but also the interaction between them within a group of survivors. Before they know it, the spaceship on which they find themselves becomes a death trap and only the wise can survive. Fusing together the suspense, intrigue, and action often attributed to the franchise, this latest graphic novel looks to offer fans the opportunity to watch the Xenomorph chaos unfold through the eyes of a child.

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There is plenty to appreciate in Aliens: Dust to Dust but it all depends on how you want to see things. This self-contained story, written and drawn by Gabriel Hardman, heavily draws its inspiration on both Alien by director Ridley Scott and Aliens by director James Cameron. While it is accessible to any reader, it brings forth an episode focused around a child’s perspective, yet surrounded by an adult cast. Where it is much more difficult to unanimously love this short graphic novel is in the fact that a lot of the plot-related gimmicks are rehashed elements of the movies. Although they are molded within a different narrative, they struggle to be as captivating as they were in the movies because of a good old déjà-vu effect taking over the reader. Does that mean that they don’t hold up to scrutiny? Not at all. The story weaved together here still manages to deliver the franchise’s signature horror story without ever losing its grip on the reader.

There is often a tinge of skepticism when an artist is also the writer of the story they want to tell. The number of individuals who can juggle both jobs at the same time is so small that you just can’t afford to have high expectations with those stories. Fortunately, Gabriel Hardman’s talents allow him to efficiently construct his story by focusing on his strengths. In fact, the story is very light on dialogues and allows the artwork to take a life of its own to convey the themes of loss, despair, and hope. This director proved to be an excellent artistic decision for a story that dwells in the realm of horror. With the excellent colour scheme and the organized panel structure, it’s a lot easier to let the visuals do its work and set the dark, grim and ugly atmosphere that is so often associated to the Alien franchise.

Aliens: Dust to Dust is a sharp, somber and action-packed story that pays homage to the cult-classic movies that allowed the franchise to grow into the horrifying creature it is known as today.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!

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While it has nothing to do with this comic book, have you seen Alien: Covenant? The latest chapter in Ridley Scott’s groundbreaking Alien franchise.

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17 comments

  • Glad you reviewed this one my friend, awesome thoughts as always. You know of my love for the Alien franchise (as well as Predator) and my enjoyment of the comics – I’d heard mixed things about Dust to Dust as the individual issues came out but I’m a fan of Hardman’s work so I will have to check it out, bearing in mind what you say about it rehashing ideas we’ve already seen in the movies.

    Oh and you’ll probably recall my feelings on Alien: Covenant from my review a couple of years ago, it’s softened a little bit since but it remains a far cry from the classic original and Aliens – Alien 3 even which I have a fair appreciation for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Chris. I did like his Green Lantern Earth One work and find that he has a nice art style to work with. Dust to Dust is a nice story, but if you look to hard, you’ll see flaws. Otherwise, you’ll breeze through it rather quickly and enjoy at least some of it.

      I’m actually a bit surprised you don’t hate Alien 3 like a lot of people do! I need to rewatch it however since I can’t recall anything about it right now! I wonder if it’ll stand the test of time like Alien and Aliens did.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ve now got the digital version ready to read so hopefully I’ll enjoy it!

        I’ve always liked Alien 3 and really never got the dislike for it, especially when you consider it next to Alien: Resurrection (which definitely is BAD) and the Alien v Predator outings. It certainly doesn’t stack up against Alien and Aliens but I always thought it was an enjoyable and fitting send off (that ultimately wasn’t)…great music score as well!

        Like

  • I think it is a testament to the very idea of “Aliens” that directors and writers keep on playing in the sandbox even while pooping in it. The last Alien film I watched was Prometheus and nothing about it made me want to watch Covenant. Have you seen Covenant?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. It’s pretty nice how Alien and Aliens really blew the minds of fans and allows the franchise to strive to this day. I haven’t seen Covenant yet either since I was a bit skeptical about all the Alien movies after James Cameron’s… I’ll give it a try at some point though, maybe before I pick the second Alien omnibus when it comes out or something.

      Liked by 1 person

  • Well once more I love your detailed, spot on and honest review! But honestly the graphics and drawings in this one just “don’t do it” for me and that’s kind of the point in a comics! So I’ll pass 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Sounds a bit derivative, but looks quite impressive. Have you seen Covenant? Prometheus spoiled the whole franchise for me big time so I didn’t even consider watching it yet 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  • Great review, Lashaan 😍 I don’t know anything about Aliens, only how they look hahaha at least I can spot them if I see one of them 😂 I should definitely watch the movies one day, though 😮

    Liked by 1 person

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