Superman and Batman Versus Aliens and Predator

Author: Mark Schultz
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $12.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 578 1
ISBN-10: 1 84576 578 8
Available 22 June 2007

Deep in the Andes, a long-dormant volcano has stirred to spectacular life, uncovering a deadly secret: two alien races have secretly occupied Earth. One uses everything in its path to assure its propagation and survival; the other is a culture of hunters, bound to a strict code that reduces every encounter with outsiders to a battle against becoming their prey. Superman and Batman are Earth's first line of defence, but they are faced with a terrible dilemma. As ruthless as these creatures are, the Man of Steel regards all life as sacred, while the Dark Knight cares about protecting humanity above all else. Their hands may be forced by an outside agency dedicated to the extermination of interplanetary intruders and all who are seen to abet them...

We've had Superman/Batman, Aliens Versus Predator, Superman/Aliens, Batman/Aliens, Superman Versus Predator and Batman Versus Predator, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before DC Comics and Dark House Comics got together again to bring us Superman and Batman Versus Aliens and Predator. But wait - we've also had Batman/Judge Dredd and Aliens Versus Predator Versus Terminator, so when is the ultimate movie/comics crossover Superman, Batman and Judge Dredd Versus Aliens, Predator and Terminator going to come out? Only joking. That would, of course, be silly.

Seriously, though - this slender volume manages to fulfil the unenviable task of doing justice to its hefty cast of iconic characters within the space of just 96 pages. The Aliens get the roughest deal in terms of exposure, failing to burst from any chests at all, though we do get plenty of Alien Queen action.

Conversely, Batman seems right at home in this crossover. Writer Mark Schultz establishes commonalities between the Dark Knight and the Predators early on, as we see the costumed hero doing a spot of hunting of his own, tracking down felons while remaining unobserved.

The only thing that sits rather oddly in terms of series continuity is the depiction of Superman's Fortress of Solitude, which differs in terms of both its location and architecture from the version seen in the ongoing range of Superman comics. In all other respects, though, this story remains true to the current Superman mythology, with Clark married to Lois, who knows his secret superhero identity. I also found the Man of Steel's desire to protect all life, including the Aliens, a little difficult to swallow.

Throughout the book, our eyes are treated to the visual splendour of Ariel Olivetti's beautifully painted artwork.

Graphic novel versus reviewer? This graphic novel wins hands down.

Richard McGinlay

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