Comic Book Review: Aliens: Dust to Dust #2
It never gets any easier to follow these unsuspecting humans who are staring down death itself, but the thrill is in how they survive. I notice that some readers forget this when they dissect some of these more recent stories. Not everyone can have the most unique encounter with a Xenopmorph, though you should always be prepared for the worst to come when no one can walk out of that situation alive or the same.
Like I said before after the debut issue, it is pretty crazy how this time around we are experiencing an Aliens story with a kid, Maxon, centered as the main character. I mean they say mother and son, but it took no time at all before the mother was made an example out of to establish the terror in these people not knowing what they are dealing with. What followed the chest burster killing the kid’s mom was crushing because you didn’t know whether to care for the kid’s feelings, or fear what was now free on this small ship full of other passengers. You ask for the worst case scenario and this would be it if the urgency was not placed towards the immediate problem that threatened everyone’s survival. When you add the tension in what is considered an immediate problem and there you have your atmosphere for horror set. That at the very least created the best opening to properly introduce everyone else on this shuttle whose life is at stake.
What I enjoyed about this situation is that while there’s much not known about how to deal with the Xenomorph threat, that still did not mean that these people weren’t aware of what they were up against. That is a big difference in contrast to others who have to learn on the spot and learning a moment too late. Not to mention the added obstacle that is this planet’s natural environment which makes everything easier said than done, even with an understanding of the situation.
I would say that what they are playing on best is the concept of human nature in this universe. Of course that means there will be a lot of things cliche, but in a story where the aliens can’t speak and are only there to kill/mutilate? You need human actions to push the story forward. For this issue, that only worked till the end of this issue which I had a problem with. The focus on this kid was refreshing, but they made a troublesome decision by what the kid did that made little sense considering what he just experienced. Kids are fine until they do dumb kid things, and that was where they made their first mistake. Hopefully it would be the last if they want to maintain interest in what comes next.
The artwork for this issue was a bit hit or miss compared to the first issue. The quality of work in the first issue was solid. It was easy to focus on the detail in Gabriel Hardman’s pencils versus the tone set by Rain Beredo’s colors. However, here it took some time to adjust when there was a struggle with perspective transitioning from one scene to the next in the beginning. For an Aliens story it is supposed to be key to create fluent scenes to engage readers where there is action. Fortunately, as I said above it was only the first scene following the alien bursting from the mom’s chest. After that, it was easier to take in the personality put into the rest of the cast of characters and the way they influence reactions from one another. Particularly when they are more still rather than in motion. Aside from this, the color work from Beredo was on point as usual. Beredo as usual is no stranger to the Aliens universe and knows what colors to use in order to bring out the tone of this story. Bleak colors, and those that brought out the rough nature of the environment stood out most in terms of greys and browns.
Aliens: Dust to Dust #2 hasn’t yet broke any new ground for an Aliens story, but I do think it has potential to with the right encounter with the Xenomorphs. The story only has to redeem itself from that one bump at the end which was hard to ignore. Human problems are key, but only if they don’t make you cringe so hard.