"Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens #3" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by John Layman
Illustrated by Chris Mooneyham
Colored by Michael Atiyeh
2016, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on December 7th, 2016
Dr. Reinstöt has been busy. He's genetically modified himself, faked his own death, and created a bunch of animal / human hybrids. Now imagine what he's going to do with some xenomorph DNA and a Predator. To complicate matters, Judge Dredd is captured and about to get ripped to shreds by a Predator / Alien mash-up and a former Judge / Alien offspring. All we're missing is the pigeon-rat from that episode of The Simpsons with Bart's evil twin.
You have an idea of what you're getting into with a book called Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens. They're not going to have a slumber party, play Monopoly, and do each other's hair. I don't even know if Dredd has any hair because he has never taken his helmet off. They'd all just be fighting over who gets to give pigtails to the Predator. OK, I clearly lost track of this thought.
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Much of the series and this issue have been moving the players into position to beat the crap out of each other. They haven't interacted much just yet. The Predators are outside the facility where Dredd is being held captive. The xenomorphs are forced in by Reinstöt in a very creepy way. The natural form of the alien is terrifying on its own, but mix it up with a Predator or a Judge, and it's taken to a whole new level.
Artist Chris Mooneyham was born to draw this book. It is brutal and beautiful. He has a well-detailed style that includes some absolutely jaw-dropping pencils. The monsters are unholy amalgamations that are somehow more fierce and deadly than their original forms.
The fight scenes are epic and worthy of the three franchises in this crossover. There's something so incredibly awesome about seeing a Judge with bones protruding from his back and a signature xenomorph tongue bursting from his mouth, charging at a Predator / alien mix, ready to tear each other apart. It's the kind of thing kids that grew up watching these movies and reading issues of 2000 AD fantasized about for ages. Now you can see it firsthand.
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Michael Atiyeh's colors bring a gritty feel to the book. These folks have been trekking through the woods and have been dragged through Hell and you can see it on their skin. You can practically feel the roughness of Dredd's unshaven face. This is what a hunter looks like.
My only qualm with this issue is how easily Dredd and the Predators suddenly communicate. Judge Anderson is along for the ride and she's a psychic, so she just sort of says, “Hey, we're cool if you're cool,” and they are suddenly best buds. Granted, they're teaming up to face a common enemy and Dredd just escaped from the xenomorph mutants, so they probably don’t want to jump right into another battle, but it still feels a little rushed.
Predators vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens is the sci-fi monster crossover you've always wanted. It adds a human element to the battle of two creatures that don't speak a language people can understand. This ups the stakes of the fight and makes it more relatable. The humans aren't just cannon fodder here – although there have been several that have already fulfilled that role – they mean something and as a result, you're more invested in the story.