Superman & Batman vs. Alien & Predator

Franchise mash-ups are fair game for comic books. Batman and Superman have tangled many times in the past, and the Alien and Predator franchises have faced off in print and on the big screen and have ultimately become symbiotic. Conversely, both Superman and Batman have faced down Aliens and Predators. This, however, is the first time all four have shared the same book.

This title is compelling in the least academic sort of way. It is entertaining to see this idea humored, however the story and plot go so far to work in every character and angle and stay truthful to all four franchises that it gets lost in the mess. The story follows Batman and Superman’s individual and eventually united investigation until the appearance of Predators on Earth, and the discovery of a Predator village in South America complete with Aliens running loose.

On the one hand, these Predators are different from the ones generally seen in the comics. They have been stranded on Earth for many thousands of years and are more tribal and superstitious than their modern counterparts. Batman makes use of this to gain control of their enclave, though his influence does not last long. Meanwhile, certain government factions aim to decimate the area with nuclear weapons, destroying to the extraterrestrials and the superheroes in the process. This outside influence is tacked on almost as an afterthought. Since the government and human fear are the biggest enemies to the protagonists, it steals thunder and suspense from the aliens and predators. The writers may have done this because ultimately, very few entities are any match for Superman, and this helped create a sense of urgency.

The writers could have chosen a more standard alien/predator vs. superhero plot, but ultimately it would have been too similar to previous outings of series and not significant in any way. A more compelling title may have simply been Justice League pitted against Aliens or Predators, with the other as a cameo.

Though this book is worth a read, and while it came close to having something to say about cultural identity, it seemed preoccupied with the inner workings of Superman’s technology or the protocols of the government. This may be what the audience craves, but it doesn’t really push the message of any of these four franchises.

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