By John Layman, Chris Mooneyham and Michael Atiyeh with Glenn Fabry and Adam Brown

The clouds have parted and the comic book gods are smiling down on us all with Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens! Even if idolatry isn’t your thing, you have to admit that comics are one of the few places two publishers can join forces and pull off a mashup like this. What’s more, in issue #2, Dark Horse and IDW prove this book just may be the gift that keeps on giving.

Writer John Layman (Chew) is more than up for the task with this series and he balances each character appropriately, knowing exactly when to allow one of the leads to take center stage. But it’s difficult to review writing what feels like the equivalent of a kid at recess. Seriously, what better gig can a comic book writer get than this? Even if it is daunting to be tasked with creating a story for three gigantic franchises such as these – which surely it could be – then Layman doesn’t let it show. There is a Judge, an Alien, or a Predator (sometimes all of them) on every single page, so you could assume the fun factor makes this feel less like work and more like a fanboy’s dream come true. Luckily for us, it translates to the pages through non-stop, high-octane action. This is a thrill ride start to finish, but there is still a worthy plot developing. Layman has a plan and that plan includes ample enjoyment without sacrificing the need for story structure. There’s a lot going on, but it’s connected and makes sense, which just leaves room for more intense conflict.

Chris Mooneyham (Five Ghosts), likewise, has no shortage of awesome material to produce. He clearly holds himself to a high standard, constructing one dynamic panel arrangement after another. But it’s his authentic style within those panels that pulls it all together and allows this over the top triple billing to thrive without overshadowing one another. More than once he delivers multiple payoffs on a single page too. It feels like a bank teller who’s counting off one hundred dollar bills for you and they keep adding extra bills just for the fun of it. The only thing more intimidating than writing a book like this is drawing it, but Mooneyham has met the challenge and is quickly becoming one of the best artists to ever tackle these characters, particularly Judge Dredd, perhaps because the Judges already seem so fitting for his style.

Combined with Mooneyham’s classic comic book art style, colorist Michael Atiyeh (Conan the Slayer) does his part to achieve what feels like a genuine vintage appeal. In fact if this were published in a larger magazine format you may initially wonder which decade it’s from. With otherworldly color palettes like these, despite Atiyeh’s clearly modern sensibilities when it comes to texturing the line art, we get the impression this book is supposed to drum up nostalgia. It certainly does. There’s a charm to Predator vs Judge Dredd vs Aliens that makes the disgusting feel cool, the violence more exciting and the unbelievable totally believable. It’s a complete package of expert writing and art, with yet another stunning cover by original 2000 AD artists Glenn Fabry (Preacher) and Adam Brown (Black Shuck), which only further demonstrates the dedicated passion behind this project and the desire to do it right.

Three times the fun, three times the madness, three times the mayhem…this comic is brimming with excellence. Read issue #2 and you’ll see there’s bound to be even more insanity coming up, which you won’t want to miss. Believe it or not, these guys are poised to crank things up even more.

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About The Author Matthew Strackbein

Matt Strackbein was born and raised in Maryland but has called Colorado home for the last 17 years where he lives happily in Longmont with his wife. He began reading comic books at the age of seven after discovering a silver age stash in his grandparents’ attic. Comic books inspired Matt to start drawing, which lead to a successful career as a commercial artist. He has worked in the apparel industry for many years as a production artist and designer. His accomplishments include designing backcountry skiwear for world-class athletes as well as downhill ski race suit designs for the 2014 Winter Olympics for the United States and Canadian national ski teams. Matt currently works as a freelance textile-print designer, but still dedicates time to his first love – comics. With over 200 letters to the editor published, Matt is a known letterhack. He self-publishes autobiographical comics about his struggles to break into the industry, which finally paid off when Dark Horse asked him to produce 2-page back up stories in recent issues of B.P.R.D. Besides his own comics, Matt collaborates on independent books as a colorist and letterer. He also teaches the art of making comics to students of all ages.