Thursday, 29 June 2017

Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator Review (Mark Schultz, Ariel Olivetti)

We had Batman vs. Predator (awful), Batman/Aliens and its sequel (both surprisingly decent), Superman vs. Predator and Superman/Aliens (which I haven’t read) - so obviously now let’s smoosh them all together into one book for no reason! With this many characters in one book, Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator sounds like the hottest of all hot messes… but it’s not bad?! 

The plot for something like this is, as you’d expect, incidental but writer Mark Schultz somehow manages to make it both coherent and sensical which is a bonus to readers who care about that sort of thing but also seems above and beyond expectations for this particular book. All of these disparate characters in one place? Yeah, I bought it. 

That said, it’s almost like a Catch-22: in making all the pieces fit, Schultz sacrifices pacing and excitement as you have to wade through the exposition that Batman conveniently uncovers because neither the Aliens or Predators speak English. It’s almost like it’d be a better book if it said “fuck making sense!”, embraced its trashiness and just went for cool set-pieces instead. 

But Schultz overreaches and the plot craters towards the end. Like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude: I’ve never seen it depicted as a mobile mini-Death Star before; I’m pretty sure it’s always been a giant pile of crystals! But needs must so we get this contrived thing. And the Predators arbitrarily fighting Superman and Batman after spending pages making them sympathetic and establishing their plight and that Supes and Bats are gonna help them was stupid. 

The Aliens are underused and don’t really figure much into the plot so if you’re a fan you might be disappointed. But then with this many characters in such a relatively short book, one of them was bound to be neglected and it may as well be the most one-dimensional ones. This comic’s definitely geared more for Batman/Superman fans. 

While throwing the fifth group in as well as the nukes might seem like total overkill to some, I liked it - that ridiculous over-the-top plotting totally fits a story this bonkers! Ariel Olivetti’s art is very strong too. Dude draws a great Superman and Batman and his Predator/Aliens aren’t too shabby either. 

It’s not the most memorable or gripping story, nor is it a must-read by anyone’s standards, but Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predator is a surprisingly decent comic - and finding decent comics featuring any one of these characters is tough so what’re the odds that throwing them all together like this would not only work but be readable?! If you can find a copy, check it out if only to witness that minor miracle!

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