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.