Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #1 Writer: John Layman Artist: Chris Mooneyham Colorist: Michael Atiyeh Letters: Michael Heisler Publisher: Dark Horse Comics & IDW
Dark Horse Comics have been creating crossovers between the Predator and Alien franchises for years and it makes perfect sense. They both lend themselves for a slew of similar themes and genres, including sci-fi, horror, and action. Now they’ve teamed up with IDW and taken one of their most popular characters, Judge Dredd, and begun a three-way crossover in a four issue mini-series.
As far as opening issues for franchise crossovers go, this is pretty solid. Writer John Layman has set the foundations and given essentially a prelude to the inevitable “collision course” between these three popular properties. It opens up following a Predator, in a role not to familiar when thinking of them. He isn’t the hunter, he’s the one being hunted. We see him stopped in his tracks and taken prisoner by some irregular looking creatures. Ones who may be in play with some other extraterrestrials. It then cuts to Judge Dredd doing what we’d all expect to see him doing, laying down the law. Him and a few other judges are hunting for a group of terrorist fugitives from Mega-City One. They follow a lead to a tavern outside the massive metropolis and their intel was correct, however their leader was able to slip away. Now they’re in pursuit, which has led them to the territory of the ones in the possession of the captured Predator. Who in which has a rescue team in course.
Layman has done a nice job of peaking interest right from the get-go. Placing a Predator in the role of the prey, as opposed to the hunter for sport, is a clever way to grab readers attention. Sure we all want to see them doing what they’re famous for, it’s just appreciated that his giving us a different perspective.
The most enjoyable part of this issue is by far the Judge Dredd scene. The mannerisms of Dredd are spot on, from his hard-nosed orders to his subordinates, to his determination to uphold the laws Mega-City One. It’ll make one pine for a sequel to the 2012 movie “Dredd”, starring Karl Urban. Which fortunately there are story treatments in development for a potential sequel or TV-series, but that can easily fall apart.
If there is anything at fault with Layman’s script that it’s all too familiar. One can easily guess every plot point beat before it hits, even during the out-of-box opening. There isn’t any other offerings in terms of originality but sometimes you just need to give your audience what they paid for and expect to see. The writing also hits the tone for each individual franchise. And what else would you expect from a crossover between the legendary lawman, the universe’s supreme hunter, and one of science-fiction’s most vicious killing machines.
Artist Chris Mooneyham has visualized a world that the three different characters feel at home in. His gritty backgrounds are a nice addition, as it builds up the atmosphere but his heavy line work can be a bit distracting at times. The appearance of Dredd however is classic, his grizzled jaw and physical stature cuts an imposing figure. There isn’t much action in this issue but one it does arise, the style makes for an enjoyable sequence.
This is by no means a perfect issue but it doesn’t have to be. Fans of these properties will be pleased with just seeing a rumble between them and this debut issue executes a set up towards that. It would be nice if there were more originality to this crossover, as one can easily predict what’s behind the corner. However the all the characters identities feel in toned and the artwork is able to gel them together in satisfying fashion.
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach
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