Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Layman
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Release Date: 7th December, 2016
Crossover stories are always tricky, and whoever has the guts to go through with them should be commended. Sure, the commercial appeal of them is undeniable; popular franchises are always going to attract intrigue when they’re crossbred after all, but sometimes they aren’t quite a natural fit. Then again, there are countless examples where it’s turned out pretty damn neat. However, they are tricky; on one hand, you must integrate two or more characters with their own unique legacies into a fresh story that works for all parties involved, which is no easy feat. On the other, you must appease their respective fan bases, which in the realms of cult fandom, tend to be pretty die hard. The Alien vs. Predator franchise didn’t leave receive the warmest of welcomes – at least not cinematically, though in other mediums the crossover did fare much better. But here we go again, giving it another go, and Judge Dredd has been thrown in for good measure?
And you know what? It’s pretty darn good.
The first issue got the series off to a flyer, as our favourite law enforcer Dredd entered the wastelands of Cursed Earth to take out a mutated cult of robot worshippers. Meanwhile, a mad scientist with a penchant for creating human/animal hybrid creatures managed to bag a Predator with the intention of conducting one of his bizarre experiments, but he didn’t account for more Predators arriving to find their comrade their comrade and save him. And to top it all off, the mad scientist was in possession of Xenomorph DNA, which you know will never end well for anybody in the end.
The second issue saw both the Judge and the Predators track down the base of the mad doctor. But neither party has any idea of the horrific experiments and hellish fates waiting for members of their respective squadrons by the time they get there. Without going into spoilers, let’s just say that the Xenomorph and Judge’s collide in a glorious way that’s not for the faint of heart.
For this instalment, we get to see what happens when the Judges and the Predators finally come face to face. We also get one of the most wonderfully bat shit insane story where Xenomorphs are on the rampage, along with an assortment of other strange mutations. This is action-packed, balls to the wall, gung ho storytelling at its finest; a wonderful mix of body horror and science gone haywire which has fun with all the franchises it’s juggling to great effect.
What makes this series work is that the foundation of it all is a Judge Dredd story, which makes sense as he’s the only human character on the right side of the law. However, the integration of the Alien and Predator universes makes perfect sense in the context of this story, and while it might not go down too well with purist aficionados of Alien and Predator, every character has been utilized to the best of their abilities, and sharing their shared universe works extremely well.
Overall, Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Alien is a series you should be reading. It isn’t pretentious for one second, understanding that the only way to make a story like this work is make it its own thing completely. That said, Layman and Mooneyham clearly respect each franchise and honour their rules accordingly, while injecting their own warped vision to create something truly magnificent. Like the mad scientists’ weird hybrids, this is some unnatural brilliance.
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The writer of this piece was: Kieran Fisher
Kieran Tweets from @HairEverywhere_.