By John Layman, Chris Mooneyham, Michael Atiyeh, Michael Heisler
Try saying all of that three times fast. This Week’s Finest is a rebooted tale of three iconic properties clashing together in a most delightful way…
It’s not always easy doing a crossover. The Big Two would have you believe it is the simplest thing in publishing, but that’s marketing and sales more than actual crossovers. I mean taking two or more things that were never designed to meet and telling one (good) cohesive tale with them. I struggle to think of many that fit all of that and are objectively “good”. Heck, neither of the Alien vs Predator movies are even ok, they’re dreddful!
If you are a horror/Sci-Fi fan, you’ve likely heard of both of these film franchises.
The Aliens series usually takes place in the far future, in space or on other worlds and deals with a human (usually Ellen Ripley but not always) or group of them encountering Xenomorphs who then hunt the humans with their biological superiority.
The Predator series is not quite as set but most often takes place in the present, with a single alien hunting humans using advanced weapons who then have to outwit the extraterrestrial to survive.
If you’ve never heard of Judge Dredd, that’s understandable but no less forgivable. At this point he’s something of a cult favorite and the lead of two Hollywood bombs (one of which is actually pretty great). Judge Dredd is a brutal policeman stuck in a post-apocalyptic city, who is committed to serving out justice no matter the odds or consequences.
Somehow, John Layman had to fit these three Universes together to tell one story and he did it brilliantly. The story begins with a Predator being captured by animal/human hybrids and taken to a mad scientist, while Dredd and his fellow judges hunt down a robot cult leader in the outskirts of Mega City One. The Xenomorphs haven’t made an appearance yet, but the face-huggers have and you know what’s coming next.
Anyone who has read Layman’s past works or followed him on Twitter (@themightylayman) knows he has the perfect mindset for this title and the issue is full of dark humor and gore at just the right moments.
Bringing those moments to life are Chris Mooneyham and Michael Atiyeh on art and colors. Mooneyham’s art is rough and pulpy, reminiscent of the art that depicts Dredd in 2000 AD but also distinct from most other titles on the comic shelf.
Atiyeh’s colors help to underscore the dirt and grim that covers this entire world, even Dredd’s worldview whether he’d care to admit it or not. This issue never feels like it belongs to one franchise in particular, but like a meeting ground for the three like the title promises. Mooneyham really captures the texture of the Predator’s armor and skin and the bulky weight of the Judge’s uniforms as they dispense justice however they see fit. I can’t wait to see what his Xenomorphs look like. Most of all, Mooneyham takes an unorthodox approach to the pages that aren’t traditional grids which keeps the storytelling moving briskly but also highlighting where my eyes should linger to get the dramatic effect.
The story and art work in tandem to make this crossover all I could want it to be and more. While it may seem like these three properties should never be mixed (again, after the terrible Alien vs Predator movies there’s compelling evidence to that effect), all three deal with the theme of human perseverance. The triumph of the human spirit against forces more deadly by evolution or technology, or against evil in general, although in the pages of Judge Dredd the question must be asked if it even makes a difference? In this respect, the three go together like chocolate, peanut butter and nougat.
It’s clear Layman understands what makes each name on the cover work and together with Mooneyham and Atiyeh, are promising the most epic crossover of the year.
Disclosure: Publisher Dark Horse provided an advance review copy of this comic to Nothing But Comics without any payment between the site or publisher or agreement on the review’s content.