Aliens: Dust To Dust #2

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Fair

DustToDust2VCFirmly focusing upon Maxon’s perilous plight aboard a spaceship that fast becomes “a death trap from which escape seems impossible”, Gabriel Hardman’s treatment for Issue Two of “Aliens: Dust To Dust” certainly provides its readers with plenty of pulse-pounding action. Indeed, despite this particular instalment of the “Dark Horse Comics” mini-series only featuring a single xenomorph XX121, and an infant-sized “vaguely worm-like organism” at that, the diminutive endoparasitoid extra-terrestrial arguably proves just as lethal as it’s human phenotype by tearing out the throat of one hapless passenger and resultantly causing the vessel’s captain to remotely blow the ship up in the hope that “there aren’t any more this far out.. [as] we’re miles from Trono.”

Intriguingly however, the “co-writer/artist of Invisible Republic” doesn’t arguably make the highly aggressive creature the ‘villain of this particular piece’ and instead seems to favour simple ill-fortune in the role of antagonist, as the twelve-year-old’s transporter desperately battles to climb through planet LV-871’s horribly polluted atmosphere in a frantic bid to reach the safety of the U.S.S. Carver; “Once we make contact, they’ll send another shuttle and we can attempt a transfer.” This seemingly endless battle against the elements really provides an enthralling roller-coaster of a ride with the vessel’s lack of knots to gain a safe altitude not being helped by either the fact that due to a hole in their port shielding it can’t actually reach orbit, or that its aft stabiliser snaps just as pilot De Vore is fast-approaching a towering mountain range.

Similarly, the previously gallant Assistant Administrator Waugh, whose heroic efforts ensured that young Maxon and his ill-fated mother successfully got aboard the spaceship in the first place, swiftly deteriorates into a rather brusque unlikeable fellow, once it becomes clear that any authority he apparently believes he has as a governmental official can be easily overruled by the shuttle’s no-nonsense captain. Such a change in personality proves fascinating, especially as the man appears to take his frustrations out on the twenty-page periodical’s central lead by scolding and roughly handling him, as if it’s the boy’s fault that the entire alien infestation has destroyed the bureaucrat’s settlement.

Slightly less successful than his writing though, is Hardman’s scratchy-style of pencilling, which occasionally makes it quite hard to discern what is actually taking place within a panel. True, the “Planet Of The Apes” artist for “Boom! Studios” sketches a genuinely heart-melting, utterly-silent sequence early on within this publication, when the craft’s passengers realise that Maxon’s mother is dead. Yet his story-boarding of the spaceship’s crash bags deployment as it nears an outcrop of deadly-looking stalagmites may debatably take several re-reads before it becomes entirely evident as to just how the bone-shuddering landing actually occurs…

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Fair

Reviewed by
For the past forty or so years I have been collecting American comics… To begin with they were predominantly black and white British reprints of “Marvel Comics Group” titles such as “Spider-Man Comics Weekly”, “The Mighty World of Marvel” and “Star Wars Weekly”; all six to ten pence editions I could store away under my bed in a large cardboard box. As a result though I was introduced to the teenage angst of Peter Parker, the discovery of a frozen Captain America by Earth's Mightiest Heroes, witnessed the dreadful rage of Doctor Bruce Banner, and even travelled to a galaxy far far away... Later I would be able to afford actual America colour comic books and supplemented my collection of “Marvel” titles such as “Conan the Barbarian”, “Howard the Duck” and “Captain America” with some “DC Comics” issues of “Batman”, “Green Lantern” and “Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew”. There would even be time for Independent publications such as “Wildcats”, “Spawn” and “The Authority”. These days however I must admit to yearning back to the simpler times of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, back to when both artwork and storylines were straightforward, easy to follow and super-heroes were just starting out on their adventures. A time when no-one had yet to be resurrected from the dead for the fourth time. I've written over seven hundred comic book reviews on my blog over the past few years, with them usually following my latest purchases, all wrapped up in a large brown paper bag, as well as occasional ‘flashbacks’ to some of the classic "Golden Age" issues I already own…

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