Story/Art: Gabriel Hardman
Colors: Rain Beredo
Letterer: Michael Heisler
What They Say:
Days ago, Maxon was a twelve-year-old boy, concerned with the kinds of things that concern young boys. Then the Aliens came. Now Maxon must depend solely on his wits and his will to survive. Its a hell of a way to grow up.
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
With the finale to this miniseries there’s once again the simple thing of the understandable frustration of the gap between issues for a four-issue series that’s meant to build tension. If there was a series that should have been done as a standalone OGN, this is one of them. Gabriel Hardman has put together an overall very solid work that leans well into the theatrical aspect of the original work to tell the tale while still keeping it very human all while being very minimal. The result is something that feels tight and oppressive, hopeful yet cautious because you know that this particular storytelling universe does not give one much. I adore the look of it as I have much of Hardman’s work and I desperately want to see him keep playing in this sandbox and with these characters.
As the journey toward the shuttle has gone, it’s no surprise that events have now pushed what few survivors there are into different directions. Maxon has managed to survive thanks to luck and the synthetic he’s with, but the synthetic is so badly damaged that making progress is requiring Maxon to cut its head off so they can journey further. He’s handling the whole thing well with realizing that the synthetic is just that but he also gets help as Sinta ends up coming across them while just trying to survive herself. That provides a little more to go on so it’s not just a kid and a head against a horde of aliens, even if the alien queen does seem to recognize him some. The others know that he can’t truly rely on that but it’s still welcome to see him using it as a way to slow down the xenomorph advance on them.
Naturally, the facility that they have to deal with doesn’t have power, so no elevators, and it’s a long climb up. One that first takes them to a Weyland-Yutani storage section where we see the Xenomorphs escaped from, which leads to uncomfortable questions with answers I can’t trust. But it’s mostly just the tense slog and stride that alternates as the group makes its way up, dealing with a building that has been overtaken by the xenomorphs into something dark and sinister. The whole almost there but not quite element is played well as Hardman plays with the familiar concepts of the films and the genre itself. But it’s all sold heavily on the emotional aspect of how Maxon handles it, the protective nature of the adult with Sinta, and the almost-humor of the synthetic in continuing to urge them on to survival.
I really enjoyed Gabriel Hardman’s take on this property and I’m not surprised at all considering his talent and works I’ve seen elsewhere. Delays aside, it leaves me really wanting to see him taking on a standalone single volume release for it so that all the dramatic tension is there for the first-time reader instead of the bi-monthly-ish run we had here. It’s got all the right raw elements, Rain Baredo’s coloring work was masterful in bringing all the detail to light, and the minimal script hit all the right notes for the characters in how they talked, panicked, and conveyed information. I’m looking forward to a collected edition down the line a bit with some space to be able to take it all in with one sitting to see how very different it’ll work.
Series Grade: A-
Age Rating: 16+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: January 9th, 2018