Review: Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #2

It is very easy to follow the easy path when doing a crossover of franchises like these three. The fact is, one of the publishers of this book manages to do it at least a couple of times a year. It is why people hate crossovers. I will admit that I had that fear for this issue. I wondered if I had praised the first issue too much and would instantly eat my words. How could Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens not fall into the trap of “okay everyone fight, but not really because we need to protect each brand”? John Layman, that is how.

Layman understands a few important things about this particular crossover, but then extremely important rules for any crossover. Layman protects each brand, but Layman knows that he has two disposable sides of it. No one is expecting the exact Predator or Alien to show up in something else which gives him a lot of leeways. The other important thing that he nails in this issue provides us with a bad guy. Not just any bad guy, however. Layman has created one and found a way to give him a superficial history with Dredd, but then managed to make him a threat to all parties. Now, he is not a threat to the Xenomorphs, but he is the force that can release them and thus destroys humankind.

Predator Judge Aliens 2It was incredibly refreshing to have a fucking villain in a crossover that felt like a real threat and not just another franchise character that no harm can come to. Other significant elements of this particular issue include the Predators tracking Dredd’s assault in the jungle which was a clever way of showing both parties arrival, but in a way that wasn’t annoying or clogged up a bunch of pages. The other was doing a call back to Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus which added more history to the story. Suddenly it did not even feel like a crossover, but more like canon.

I am going to spoil something with the art for you because it will tell you everything you need to know about Chris Mooneyham’s art on the book. Mooneyham illustrates a Predator/Alien hybrid that is actually really fucking cool looking. Not only that, but there’s a Judge/Alien hybrid as well created by the villain of the story. It too is fucking cool. The only thing else I will add is that Mooneyham’s visual storytelling is spot on and compliments Layman’s narration, particularly during the opening with the Predator’s figuring out the Judge’s battle with the Ani-mans.

I knew that I was going to read this issue no matter what, but I did not think there would be anything worth saying on another review. Thankfully the creative team surprised me. This crossover is a throwback to the early days of franchise crossovers in which they were cool and enjoyable. Thank god someone figured it out.

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Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #2 Writer: John Layman Artist: Chris Mooneyham Publisher: Dark Horse Comics/IDW Price: $3.99 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital