Story by: John Layman Art by: Chris Mooneyham Colors & Letters by: Michael Atiyeh Published by: Dark Horse Comics, IDW & 2000AD
A Fight That Lacks A Decent Punch
What happens when you combine the collective franchises of Predator, Aliens, and 2000 AD? Firstly, you get an overly long title, followed quickly by the anticipation of some of the best elements from recent science fiction. What typically happens is that the differing elements of each franchise causes discord in terms of the narrative. That’s not what has happened in this book though, given that this issue is basically setting the scene for the drama to come. The issue opens with an unfortunate Predator meeting some decidedly unfriendly locals – and getting taken down by them rather easily. Next up, we meet the toughest Judge of them all; Dredd is leading a detachment of Judges (including the ever popular Anderson) in the pursuit of a terrorist fugitive from Mega City one and into the Cursed Earth. So far so good – two thirds of the franchises have seen representation and Dredd and his fellow judges have been given time to strut their stuff. From this point the story falls away, we do get some foreshadowing for the next issue but there is a falling off in terms of the dramatic impetus. This is a shame as the different elements can work spectacularly. As it is, we have half a book and not much else. It’s possible that the names of the protagonists were thought sufficient to carry over the flaws in the narrative. While the characterization is handled quite well, the dialogue is efficient enough; the juddering final third of the book is a detriment.
The art is pretty nice though. The Judges come across in nice style and the initial Predator is rendered well. Where we do have other supporting characters involved, there are some good details and designs involved. Visually, the book is stronger than the story – maybe the following issues will bring more of the story out – since the first issue is mainly focused on Dredd and, latterly, the Predator, we’re one third down in terms of the titular characters. Is Dredd strong enough to carry the whole book? With the small group of Judges venturing into the Cursed Earth in pursuit of a fugitive, it’s almost as if the author has served up some Red Shirts for the coming drama. Hopefully, the book will come together in the next issue. So far, though, the evidence is a little underwhelming.