Dark Horse has been telling stories within the universe of the Alien films for decades, but the property has had a major upswing in the last year after handing the reins to singular writer/artists with a distinct vision for this concept. James Stokoe’s Aliens: Dead Orbit (now available in a collected edition) was a chilling, claustrophobic story with meticulously detailed artwork, heavily inspired by the tone of Alien while maintaining the bold energy that makes Stokoe’s work so exciting.
The new Aliens: Dust To Dust miniseries sees Gabriel Hardman adding a heartbreaking family element to the sci-fi horror, as a young boy and his mother try to survive an alien attack. Rather than building on the mythology of this universe, these comics are focusing on terrifying self-contained events, and it’s made for compelling, emotional stories that move at a brisk pace. Hardman splits his time between making comics and storyboarding major Hollywood films like Logan, Interstellar, and Inception, which makes him a perfect fit for a series with cinematic roots. His work on comics like Invisible Republic and Green Lantern: Earth One has a big Ridley Scott influence, and he gets to lean into that even further with his new miniseries.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Aliens: Dust To Dust #1 spotlights how well Hardman creates a creepy atmosphere, and his high-contrast artwork is full of dense shadows that hide the extraterrestrial danger. There’s a real sense of weight to his characters, which is especially refreshing in the shot of the signature Xenomorph, which has undergone a digital transformation in the films that diminishes its scare factor. Colorist Rain Beredo’s muted palette keeps the focus on the textured inks, with the occasional pop of color to accentuate a specific beat, like a burst of red when Maxon sees a facehugger on his sleeping mother or a gentle pink when the facehugger falls to the floor after completing its biological imperative. Fans of the Aliens franchise know that Maxon’s mom is in for an awful surprise, and readers can discover how these creatures tear this family apart by picking up the first issue on April 25.