Aliens: Dust To Dust #3

7

Good

DustToDust3VCOnly pausing mid-way through its narrative whilst the rapidly dwindling survivors of the Trono colony somewhat hard-heartedly decide whether to leave their youngest member behind before attempting to “follow the bank of the spillway right to the facility”, Gabriel Hardman’s sense-shattering screenplay for Issue Three of “Aliens: Dust To Dust” must have had the majority of the mini-series’ audience panting for breath when the long-delayed publication finally hit the spinner-racks in October 2018. For although the twenty-page periodical momentarily becomes a little weighed down with the morality of “pushing forward without” the twelve year-old orphan, it quickly picks up its pulse-pounding pace once Maxon makes to ‘go it alone’ and inadvertently encounters an entire nest of xenomorphs hiding underneath the floor of the very system engineering facility he’s fleeing from.

Indeed, whether it be Roman and his aged wife’s horribly bloody deaths during this comic’s gore-fest of an opening, or the callous co-pilot’s ‘all-too just mutilation’ at the hands of a howling mob of aliens, having literally just refused to let the terrified boy and Waugh back into the building because “I’m not dying for them”, the persistent deadly threat of Ridley Scott’s legacy is palpably all-pervading, and rarely lets up even when the captain believes there’s “no evidence of xenomorph activity” and begins making sensible-sounding plans to reach a terraforming station the following morning. Certainly, it soon becomes hard to keep track of just who is still alive within the group as the “mysterious and deadly creatures” stalking them continuously claw, bite and tear their number asunder…

Arguably this comic’s greatest highlight however, has to be young Cregar’s headlong dash through the magazine’s final third, which starts with the adolescent being roughly rushed around the alien-infested sanctuary’s exterior by the unfriendly Assistant Administrator, and ends with him haplessly plunging into a fast-flowing river of “overflow from the facility’s cooling tower” along with the tale’s last remaining few fighters and a plethora of hostile life-forms. In fact, Hardman’s scratchy-styled line work for this sequence is so well-suited to the scene’s sense of panicked desperation, that it is a pity the frenzied flight across the broken bridge’s depilated suspension cable doesn’t last that bit longer and perhaps replaced the Hugo Award-nominee’s patronising panels within which Anne’s son is told to rest because “you’re just a kid.”

Colours
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7

Good

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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