Superman & Batman |
vs. Aliens & Predator
by Mark Schultz, Ariel Olivetti
(Dark Horse/DC Comics, 2007)
First, it has a really cumbersome title that sets expectations low.
Second, the plot and characterization are both poor enough to negate whatever "cool" factor you get from bringing the DC and Dark Horse powerhouses together for another round.
Previous crossovers between Superman or Batman (or, in one case, the JLA) with Predators or Aliens were of mixed success. Some were very good, some were pretty bad. I gave Superman & Batman vs. Aliens & Predator the benefit of the doubt and approached it with high hopes.
But it was not to be.
It turns out that throwback Predators who landed on Earth 14,000 years ago have been hiding all this time in a Peruvian volcano, where they fled to escape the Ice Age of the time. There, with the Alien eggs they use to breed prey for the hunt, they have hidden all this time, undetected by humans and never thinking to venture outside to see if the weather might have improved. But now the volcano is rumbling again, and the Predators are looking for a new place to live. Of course, they decide to scout out Gotham City and Metropolis first, which draws Batman and Superman (with wife Lois Lane in tow) to the scene in a hurry.
Once there, they run afoul of the two alien species, both of which want to survive, but don't want to be rescued. While Batman might be able to sit back and let the volcano take care of them, Superman decides he must save them anyway, and violence ensues. It gets hairier when an international arm of terrestrial defenders decides to nuke the volcano, just to be sure the threat is eradicated -- and heck, since Superman is an alien anyway, who's to complain if he's caught in the blast?
There are a host of problems with the story. Why were the Predators raiding human technology when what they wanted was a place to live? Why did they kill everyone they encountered -- except Lois, who they decided to capture instead? Why is Superman so slow to try and rescue every human but Lois? Why is the military so eager to kill Superman? And why is Superman willing to let these murderous beings go unpunished? How many times must they attack him and how many people must they kill before he realizes they're bad guys?
This is a weak, weak story by a writer, Mark Schultz, who should know better. Art by Ariel Olivetti is better, but his characters seem oddly stiff and out of joint.
All in all, and with regret, I'd call this money wasted.
by Tom Knapp