The Aliens and Predator franchises are already well know for their cross-overs, both with each other and with brooding anti-heroes like Batman. Here they link into Judge Dredd’s universe, a version of the future that’s already seen more than its fair share of bizarre killer aliens from distant planets.
Unfortunately, despite the title of the book suggesting that it might happen, we don’t see Dredd pitted against both creatures at once. Instead the book is split into two halves. In the first, a single Predator wreaks havoc on Mega City One’s Judges, picking them off like flies and collecting their badges as trophies. The second sees Dredd uncovering an alien farm created by an exiled citizen ready to take revenge on the city that spurned him.
A recurring problem with cross-overs like this is that they can be formulaic. In this case, the Predator story is particularly guilty – you could switch the Predator with any Judge-killer and more or less use the same script. Perhaps the Predator character just doesn’t carry enough emotional range to elevate it beyond that of a two-dimensional killing machine.
That the Aliens story counters this is perhaps something of a surprise, then, since these killing machines can be even more focused on killing than the Predators. However, the injection of a mutant ring-leader who is using the Aliens as a biological weapon adds the crazy human element that invariably improves a Judge Dredd story.
The art is expertly produced, all in full colour but with a subdued palette. Alcatena’s work on the Predator story has a lighter feel, right up until the moment when we see the severed head and spinal cord of a Judge dangling from a ceiling. In the Aliens story, Henry Flint seems to be channeling Mike McMahon and Carlos Ezquerra, which is no bad thing in my book. There’s even more blood and gore in this half of the book than in the first, however, so like most things Aliens and Predator, it’s not one to share with young kids.
Perhaps the problem is that when you see big names coming together like this, you can’t help but hope that the outcome is going to be amazing. However, with two or three seperate sets of fans to appease, plot and story progression can end up falling by the wayside.