We are just two days away from the third annual Alien Day celebration on April 26, a holiday conjured up as reference to planet LV-426, and Dark Horse Comics is doing its part recognizing the fan holiday by releasing the first issue of Aliens: Dust to Dust, written and drawn by Gabriel Hardman (Green Lantern: Earth One, Invisible Republic), with colors by Rain Beredo. The new story follows a boy and his mother as they try to survive a pack of xenomorphs.
After last year's hit mini-series, Aliens: Dead Orbit by James Stokoe, the world of Alien has been more satisfying in comic book form than it has in its recent cinematic outings. Dark Horse Comics hopes to strike lightning twice in a row with Dust to Dust, which kicks off with a heart-racing first issue.
Hardman, who has also served the storyboard artist on films such as Logan, Interstellar, and Inception, spoke with SYFY WIRE about what's in store for his four-issue Aliens mini-series. Be sure to check out the exclusive preview at the first couple of pages of Aliens: Dust to Dust #1 at the bottom of the page.
What makes a great Aliens story?
A great Aliens story can be nearly anything as long as the xenomorphs are a near-unstoppable, eyeless threat. One of the great things about this property is that it isn't dependent on a couple of recurring protagonists getting in trouble again and again. You can focus in on all sorts of characters see how they deal with this horror… if they can, the way I'm doing with Maxon and his mom in this mini-series.
The action starts right out of the gate, and we don't get a lot of time to get to know our protagonists. So what can you tell me about Maxon and his mother?
They're a mother and son living in a failing terraforming colony, which is already plagued by huge dust storms at the point when the xenomorph attack occurs. They moved there out of financial hardship, hoping for a new opportunity, but it hasn't worked out that way. All of this is inferred over the course of the first issue. I'm not a fan of exposition in stories. I firmly believe in letting the characters say who they are through their behavior, and there's no better time than a crisis to bring out who someone really is.
Because it's Aliens, the colonial Marines appear to have more of a presence in this story.
We see a couple colonial Marines, but they're not going to be the saviors here. This is Maxon's story, and it's told from his point of view. The geopolitical situation in the galaxy isn't the immediate concern of a 12-year-old boy running for his life.
What made planet LV-871 the next planet of terror? Is there a tie to another Alien or Aliens story that you wanted to build upon or were looking to look at under the microscope?
The reason this is happening on this planet at this time is key to the story I'm telling and will be revealed over the course of the arc.
Gabriel, you also offer up a lot of hope in Maxon and his mother being able to survive this. So much of Aliens stories have been the xenomorphs hunting humans down one by one, but you chose to offer up a glimmer of hope.
Well, that's just Issue 1. Trust me, things get a lot worse from here. But this isn't a story from a parent's POV, taking care of a child. It's from the kid's POV, trying to survive in a chaotic world where he has little power. The reader is experiencing the terror with him.
What did you enjoy the most in writing and drawing an Aliens story, and did it matter to you if it was an Alien story or an Aliens story?
I love horror and suspense. I love dark visuals. I love telling stories about desperate characters who are hanging on by their fingernails. You get all that and more in an Aliens story.