Monday, December 15, 2014

Predator, Aliens and Dredd!

Here's another competitor in the 2000AD hardback market, a joint publication by Dark Horse and Rebellion that collects Dredd's encounters with two of cinema's most memorable beasties. I confess that I caved in and bought this one on a recent trip to Forbidden Planet even though I already have the soft cover Dredd vs Aliens Incubus book. The addition here is Dredd's three issue battle with a Predator that first appeared in a US release by Dark Horse in 1997 and ran in the Megazine from 97-98.

The Predator story runs pretty much as you expect when one of them lands in Mega-City One and decides that the most dangerous prey has to be the Judges with Dredd at the top of the tree. Pretty soon the body count is rising and golden badges are appearing in the Predator's trophy room. There's a nice nod to the original movie when a member of Psi division turns out to be a descendant of Dutch Schaefer, although she seems to have forgotten her ancestor's advice about smearing herself with mud at every opportunity.

The artwork is by the Argentinian artist Enrique Alcatena who does a fair job of representing Dredd and his world although there is an odd moment when the Versace cod pieces from the Stallone movie make an appearance but they disappear as quickly as a Predator activating it's cloaking device. John Wagner's writing is also a little bit off in places with Dredd musing in unfamiliar thought bubbles which were fine in the early years and suit the intended US readership but seem a bit strange now. Likewise the Predator's behaviour doesn't seem quite right (because, obviously, I'm a noted expert on fictional alien psychology), particularly in the scene where it trusses up a captured Judge and then kills him. Aren't these vicious alien killers supposed to be all about the thrill of the hunt and not just dispatching helpless victims? (Someone is now going to point out a scene from the movies where they do exactly that.)

The Wagner, Diggle, Flint Aliens story is much more enjoyable but I've covered that one already. Henry Flint also turns in a tremendous cover although it should come with a slight health warning that no such scene appears within. The other covers from 2000AD and the Dark Horse comics are included with powerful images by Brian Bolland, Jock, and Frazer Irving standing out from the crowd.

It's another nice hardback, this time in the traditional US comic size, but whether it represents value for money just to get hold of an average three part Predator story is questionable. Most 2000AD fans will probably be looking to spend their Christmas money elsewhere but hopefully it will sell well in the States and pull in some more new readers. A middling 2.5 out of 5 stars for the whole thing although the Aliens story would score better on its own.

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