|PREDATOR VS. JUDGE DREDD VS. ALIENS No. 2, August 2016|
Sadly however, this somewhat ‘back and forth’ storytelling technique does make for a rather choppy read on occasion, especially when, without any particular evident reason or warning, the plot intermittently leaps from Joe’s past, to the Predators' present, and then back to another point in the timeline when Mega-City One’s toughest lawman was chasing “the emoticon-faced cult leader known as Archbishop Emoji across the Cursed Earth and into the Alabama Morass.” Such interludes certainly become disappointingly distracting by the time Reinstot has injected Judge McCrary with a “formula incorporating the DNA taken from this strange alien skull” and placed a parasitoid larva over the face of a second horrified Judge.
Fortunately what the American comic book writer seems especially good at is creating an incredible sense of fear and dread, even when the plot itself is somewhat plodding, undoubtedly dialogue-heavy and sedentary in nature. The bound, helpless law enforcement officers’ stark anguish as the multi-eyed murderer approaches them armed with either a glowing-green syringe or wriggling face-hugger is absolutely palpable, as is Dredd’s increasing anger and frustration as he witnesses his wretched colleagues fall to Niels’ sadistic experimentations; “Drokk it, creep, when I get out of here --”
Equally as engaging as Layman’s penmanship is Chris Mooneyham’s penciling. The “traditional” artist’s breakdowns genuinely convey a sense of foreboding doom as the Predators quickly piece together Emoji’s frantic flight from his well-armed pursuers and the robot’s subsequent fire-fight. However, such dynamic panels are as nothing when compared to the American illustrator’s seriously disconcerting facial expressions as the psychotic doctor’s Mega-City test subjects realise their imminent grisly fates; an especially impressive feat considering that none of the male Judges have removed their helmets.
|Script: John Layman, Artist: Chris Mooneyham, and Colors: Michael Atiyeh|