Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #1
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: John Layman
Artist: Chris Mooneyham
Colorist: Michael Atiyeh
Cover: Glenn Fabry
When you mix three iconic characters like these you better come with a story worthy of the carnage and destruction we expect to see. The Predators have a history of being the most adept hunters in the galaxy, Aliens are the perfect killing machines, and Judge Dredd IS The Law which makes his jurisdiction the entire planet I guess. So let’s find out if this triple threat match is worthy of your time and money!
Layman opens the story with a tense chase scene where we catch up to a Predator in a position that we usually don’t get to see them in. It’s a fast paced introduction that not only introduces him but some of the genetically created villains in the story as well. They have a link to a more sinister villain that is introduced later who gives off a Dr. Moreau vibe but it’s this person that is going to make a bad situation even worse. It’s just what mad scientists do but Layman gives his character Alien DNA to play with so things should get awesomely catastrophic pretty quickly. Now Dredd’s introduction has him and several other Judges dispensing some justice and gets directly to the point of what Dredd is about. Layman also lets you know what type of world we’re operating in and how crazy it’s become especially when one of the villains is named Archbishop Emoji just in case the mutated citizens and talking animal people were a bit too “normal” for you. Now some might be a little disappointed that the Aliens aren’t as prominent here but Layman still makes them a vital piece of the story and a wildcard that effectively connects every one involved and gives us a reason for this story.
As far as the art is concerned, Mooneyham and Atiyeh do some excellent work enhancing the story. That opening sequence is so good because Mooneyham gives you little visual cues that the fight isn’t going in the Predator’s favor aside from the obvious taking place in the panels. Then there’s the reveal shot of the Predator where we see the extent of the injuries and it’s just a nice beat. The rest of the issue is just as good and the opening Judge Dredd panel layouts seem to be a bit of a respective nod to those classic issues from back in the day. Atiyeh’s colors are consistently on point when it comes to heightening the tone and making sure that every panel is just as good as the last.
One thing many look forward to whenever Aliens and Predators show up are the character designs. More so with the Predators because each warrior usually wears a combination of armor that sets him apart from others. Well Mooneyham does not disappoint with the designs here as we get what could be called the “standard” Predator design similar to what we saw in the 1987 film. Then out of nowhere he hits you with some more diverse designs that are the visual kick needed to keep these characters feeling like new. There’s a Predator wearing the chest of a xenomorph as a protective breastplate then there’s another whose mask has a Cylon-like visor! Every piece of armor and weapon is something necessary to the hunt and not just added for an aesthetic choice but to either protect his life or end another. So bravo to Mooneyham for keeping things visually cool and interesting with the Predators. Now I can’t wait to see how he tweaks the designs of the Aliens.
Overall, this is a great first issue that does exactly what it’s supposed to and that’s have you ready to go out and get the second issue when you see that last page. And it’s a safe bet that if you’re already a fan of even one of these characters then you’ll be excited with what the creative team has done here.