Writer(s): John Wagner, Andy Diggle
Art: Henry Flint, Enrique Alcatena, Brian Bolland, Jock
Publisher: 2000AD/Dark Horse Comics
In space, as the old saying goes, no one can hear you scream. The same can also be said for Mega City One. Just in time for Halloween, 2000AD and Dark Horse Comics have come together to release one of their more horrific collaborations yet: Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories. This brutal and beautiful, hard cover collects two of the most fun and gruesome stories you’ll ever read.
Kicking off the set is Andy Diggle and John Wagner’s 2003 story Incubus which pits Judge Dredd against an alien infestation. A routine chase turns into anything but, when a perp’s chest suddenly bursts fourth a wee baby Xenomorph and runs into a nearby hospital. After an entire verminator team (futuristic pest control) that was tasked with collecting the pest are wiped out, Dredd puts Mega City One on lock-down. Soon the Judge’s learn that this isn’t a lone alien threat, but a full blown infestation.
Surprisingly this is one of the more faithful Alien stories ever published. This is great story wrapped in beautiful and detailed art. The pairing of the Alien franchise with Judge Dredd is almost too perfect. Dredd is the perfect foible for the Xenomorphic menace. His no-nonsense attitude helps the story avoid most modern horror pratfalls. Dredd doesn’t waste time “investigating” the creature, in truth; he can’t kill it fast enough. The results make this story just as horrific as it is humorous with Wagner and Diggle using both properties to their full advantage.
The fact that one of Dredd’s best artists is handling the action doesn’t hurt either. Henry Flint brings an incredible amount of gory detail here. From exploding chests and heads, to balls-out fire fights, Incubus is one pretty story. Colourist Christ Blythe keeps the mood atmospheric giving the perfect amount of chills to properly conveys the horror of the Xenomorphs against the more cartoonish aspects of Judge Dredd‘s world.
Next, we have Predator Vs. Judge Dredd written by Wagner and meticulously drawn by Enrique Alcatena. The plot resembles that of the second Predator film, Predator 2, with a Predator arriving in the middle of Mega City One as opposed to New York. The plot is paper thin, but still extremely enjoyable, especially when taken at face value. Do you want to see Judge Dredd take his shirt off and go mano-e-mano with the Predator? Of course you do, and the book delivers. There is even a nice little call back to Schwarzenegger’s original film character Duke, something that fans will enjoy.
Predator Vs. Judge Dredd had originally been published way back in 1997, and it shows. This is not a negative connotation however. Having the two stories side by side offers a unique glimpse at the differences between decades, even with less than ten years between the two. The Predator story, specifically in regards to inks and letters, is far more organic than its Alien counter-part. It gives the story a very nostalgic feel that suits the over-the-top tone perfectly. Predator Vs. Judge Dredd is a little rough around the edges which makes it pleasing in its own way. It shows just how powerful Alcatena’s line work is. From the detailed filth of Mega City One right to the line on Dredd’s face, not a single stroke is wasted. As if the two stories weren’t enough, Dark Horse was kind enough to pack in some excellent cover-art from the likes of Brian Bollard and Jock. If the book is a hit, maybe we will see some poster prints in the near future.
This Halloween, while all the trick and/or treaters are out running amok, why not spend some time alone with Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories. The book is a blast from start to finish and a highlight in the long franchised careers for all involved.