Picture yourself sitting in your car during your lunch break. You’re shoveling heaps of melty goodness from the burrito bowl you just purchased at Chipotle into your maw. You’re equally focused on how delicious each bite is and trying your damndest not to get any salsa on your work shirt. This is your life, and you are content. You’re nearing the bottom of your gut bomb when suddenly a wave of melancholy washes over you and the realization that you’ve been arranging your burrito bowl all wrong suffocates you. When the guy behind the counter asks what sort of beans you want, you choose pinto or black beans. You like both, so no matter what you go with, you’re happy. But for all the burrito bowls you’ve helped shape as it slides down the assembly line, the notion of asking for BOTH kinds of beans has never dawned on you.
It’s revelations like this that make me wonder why Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #1 hasn’t graced us sooner. Now, this is not the first time that any of these three icons have been pitted against each other; Dark Horse comics has been publishing Alien Vs. Predator stories for over 25 years and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Judge Dredd has had run ins with both deadly species on separate occasions, but never has Mega-City One’s most brutal, justice-distributing badass faced off against both of them simultaneously.
This is the comic equivalent of a rock-n-roll supergroup, and I don’t think I’ve been as excited to read a crossover of this ilk since IDW and DC’s Batman/TMNT crossover. And after finishing the first issues of Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens (Can we call it PvJDvA for short?), that excitement has not waned. If anything, after seeing that final splash page, my anticipation for things to come reached critical mass.
Look, I grew up on the AvP comics of the early ‘90s; I have a long box packed with bonkers titles like Batman vs. Predator and Superman vs. Aliens (which should just be called Alien vs. Aliens, but whatever); I still buy back issues of 2000 AD since there isn’t print subscription for it in the US that doesn’t cost as much as a family plan cell phone bill (get it together, Rebellion). Considering all of this, I feel like Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens was genetically engineered to make me love it. And drokk it, I do!
The setup in this first issue is rather serendipitous (as it should be, considering the players in it): Dredd and Judge Anderson and Co. are hunting down a criminal scumbag in the outskirts of Mega-City One. During their man (robot?) hunt, they are lead toward unfamiliar territory, where a gene-splicing, Dr. Moreau-sort mad scientist has captured a Predator and his trophy collection and has plans to use them in his experiments…you know where this is going. We all know where this is going, and if you’re like me, you can’t wait to see it unfold.
John Layman’s writing is solid. He captures the lunacy of the world of Dredd and doesn’t shoehorn in the lingo that some writers do with the character. His caption work during the Predator chase scene in the few pages is powerful and straightforward; you feel the sense of desperation and fear as the tables turn on what is ostensibly our lead character.
Chris Mooneyham’s artwork is also great. His action sequences are fluid and brutal, and his character models are drawn with confidence. I’ve loved Mooneyham’s work since Five Ghosts and I swear, this dude was born to draw fun, pulpy comics like PvJDvA (that’s Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens, if you forgot).
Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #1 rules, you guys. If you are a fan of any of these three franchises that are about to clash in future issues, I highly recommend scooping this one up. The story and art are fantastic, and like a lot of previous “vs.” comics from Dark Horse, there is a sense of fun and low stakes that make each page a joy to consume.
- Great art (especially Dredd, himself)
- Tight script with a great opening scene
- That final splash page!
- Nope, none