Writer: John Layman
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics, IDW
Who would win in a fight? It is a simple but dangerous question to ask any comic book fan. Many a friendship has been broken up over determine who is really stronger The Hulk or Superman. If politicians held themselves to the same standards as anonymous internet users who rigorously debate the multifaceted factors of fictional character battles their debates were certainly be more thoroughly researched. Sometimes those debates go beyond the rhetorical and land in the pages of comic books. Success of those books tends to be mixed as the question the is raised in the title never really gets answered as writers work to please all fan bases. The final results of Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens has yet to be determined, but so far it is setting up to be slightly better than your average high concept miniseries.
One of the biggest concerns of these ‘Vs’ books is how often they do not follow through with the cover title. We all know the classic comic book trope when two characters fight in their first encounter only to team up later to take on the real enemy. With three sides of this conflict one would think that would not be the case, however the book opens with anthropomorphic mutant creatures that surprisingly take down a Predator with ease. It was somewhat of an odd way to start the issue. Sure it establishes these mutants as a major threat, but the downside is how it takes out the legs of the Predator just as the book gets started.
When you have books of this nature one of the key questions is how do they legitimize this conflict? How can they make sense off all these characters from different worlds coming together in one book. Writer John Layman makes the smart choice by keeping it simple as possible. Judge Dredd just happens to be tracking down a fleeing criminal in the same area a Predator ship lands. There’s no crazy reality warps or extra dimensional travel, simply a story of happenstance. Perhaps not the most complex way to tell a story and that is perfectly acceptable. I would greatly prefer a story that does not get unnecessarily bogged down with a convoluted plot. Just let them fight, which apparently will not happen until further issues.
Chris Mooneyham’s artwork is also a star here. His character designs are both respectful to the original properties while making them work together. Especially love his different predator models. They have a space pirate robotic ninja theme about them that looks quite badass. Greatly looking forward to see how he incorporates the aliens into this series in future issues.
Overall Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens #1 is like the undercard before the main event really gets started. There’s a lot of build-up and setting the stage for the major conflict we all paid to see. There are moments to enjoy, but really the focus is on what is coming next. Here is hoping the series is able to actually declare a winner in this all out brawl.