Mild Mannered Reviews - Specials
Superman & Batman vs. Aliens & Predators #1 (of 2)Scheduled to arrive in stores: January 10, 2007
Cover date: March 2007
Writer: Mark Schultz
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Reviewed by: Neal Bailey
A group of men explore a large volcano in the snow. Unsuspecting, they're soon torn into pieces (in what seems to be Predator style).
In a Kaiser metal factory, Batman spies on mob activity before detecting an unforeseen presence, a group of Predators that immediately attack him and run.
Superman, using Psionics with John Henry, explores a B13 tech site going haywire, only to find Predators who fire upon him and then run.
Clark Kent gets an assignment to explore the volcano, and Lois takes vacation time to go along with him. Once there, Clark sends Lois off, hearing men descending in a helicopter.
At the site, he finds all the men dead and Batman indicating that they didn't have to die, they wasted their lives going after the Predators. He's wearing a souped up suit.
Lois' team is attacked, and everyone is killed except for her.
Batman and Superman collude over what they've learned. Batman is attacked, and falls down the hole.
Both Superman and Batman find themselves attacked by Aliens.
Batman is saved by Predators, who take him prisoner. They take him to their hive, which has been established for some time. Batman smacks the tribal leader and fights him, defeating the predator with a defibrillator.
Superman sees the mountain erupting, and lets the lava take care of the Aliens while going to rescue Lois, who the Predators have taken hostage. He uses heat vision to channel the lava and save her.
They find Batman talking with the Predators, and he explains that they won't attack because they believe that Superman is an animistic deity and Batman is his emissary, and they apologize for kidnapping Lois, as they didn't know she was Superman's woman.
Batman explains the Predators came during Earth's ice age 14,000 years ago as a waylaid Arcturus fleet expanding their empire. These Predators can use primitive sign language, and brought Aliens along to hunt. Hating the cold, they went into the volcano and released Aliens to traditionally hunt, and have lived symbiotically ever since. They're now combing the globe looking for new habitation.
Batman jokingly suggests sealing them in the volcano and letting it erupt. Superman chastises him.
Superman tells Batman to let them know that he, as the animistic entity, is making a covenant with the Aliens to repair their ship in exchange for not attacking humans any more. Superman leaves to bring the Fortress of Solitude to the Predators.
Meanwhile, the TDI (Terrestrial Defense Initiative) authorizes nukes to destroy the volcano. (The TDI being an organization of the Prime Nations).
Story - 1: Wow, what a buttload of butt. And I mean that in the nicest way I can.
Usually I can say to myself that there's at least something redeeming about a story. In this case in particular, that of Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predators, the title of which is an invitation for being silly and campy and having fun and not taking itself too seriously, I was ready to turn off my brain and just go along with things.
Even if you're ready to do that in this story, you can't, because the inconsistencies and lack of use of these great characters just drags you right out of the story and kicks you in the teeth.
Most of you probably weren't around or have forgotten the early nineties reviews I wrote, but basically, when I was just starting on the site, I did a lot of the 64 page monster comic reviews. I'm not sure why I got a lot of them, mostly probably because I just leap at the chance to review anything Superman related, but I did a lot of them. They were all essentially the same. Padded, crappy stories based around a novel concept and sold in an expensive format, about six dollars an issue, same as this book. Seven Caskets. Seven Samurai. Realworlds. JLA: Destiny (which actually ruled). DC 1,000,000. Secret Society of Superheroes. Superboy's Legion. Superman/Savage Dragon. Superman/Thundercats. Superman: True Brit.
Most of these had the potential to rule, but most sucked. They were a buttload of butt. Why? Maybe it was the pressure of the format, or the lack of pressure to tell a concise story. Maybe it was editorial lapse (a large part of it, I'm guessing, because most regular monthly books seem to have a whip cracked over them, while these seeming vanity projects all bite and have a lot of leeway).
This one is a pinnacle of the stinky ones, from character inconsistency to a failure to sympathize with the conflict to flat out plot failures and universe continuity ignorance. This from a guy (Schultz) who was part of the Superman continuity machine for YEARS.
I have a list here that's a page long, so I'll just start.
First, we have Predators attacking and running. These are Predators. They don't run. They make ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER run.
Superman and Batman then, when seeing Predators, don't pursue? With Batman it might be tactical. With Superman it's not.
B13 tech is present in this story, and in the current continuity it has been destroyed. This means the story takes place post 2000, when Brainiac infected the city, but pre-Metropolis (the series). In that case, for this entire time period, the Lex Luthor building should be the two-tiered, almost WTC type building, not the Lexcorp building.
For that matter, I don't think the JLA had psionics until 2004. Could be wrong on that one.
Superman bursts through the streets for no real reason, causing massive property damage and pulling me out of the story.
The "Great Scott!" line, while missed, comes off hokey in this story.
Why would Predators want B13 tech? In this story, they've been technologically self-sufficient for 14,000 years. Why would they want metal from a factory? In the story, they're said to be searching for a new home, so what would that have to do with tech? Inconsistent.
Superman takes Lois to the volcano, realizes there are Predators, and doesn't immediately go to take Lois and her people to safety? He's essentially responsible for his guide's deaths.
Superman hears men descending in a helicopter, and doesn't go there immediately? There's enough time for them all to be slaughtered, and he doesn't hear it and stop it? Or at least try? His ear was TRAINED on these men.
Batman was apparently at the scene with the TDI men who were killed, and didn't call for Superman? He didn't call for the JLA at all when he heard there were Predators? He is essentially responsible for the death of the TDI men, which is out of character and removes sympathy for him.
Everyone in Lois' party is killed...except Lois...by Predators. Yeah, right. Why, because they want mad phat human female? Are you kidding? You might think they're trying to curry favor or fear from Supes, but as is later revealed, they have no idea she's his woman until he tells them.
Predators don't run, and they don't take women prisoner just because. They kill, take scalps, and get out. They nuke stuff if they fail. This is NOT a complex character to get, which is why it's such raw dumb fun. How the hell can you screw that up, Schultz? I mean, seriously. They slaughter everyone but Lois? Come ON. You can write better than that.
Batman and Superman are attacked by Predators. Superman, realizing that a bunch of men have been slaughtered, doesn't use his senses to start looking around? I didn't realize looking into a dark cave a few hundred feet was impossible for a man who can see ACROSS EVERY VISUAL SPECTRUM and hear GUNSHOTS FROM THE OTHER SIDE OF THE EARTH.
Argue that Superman was distracted by the dead people? Hah. Please. It's not his first year on this job at this point, though its exact point in continuity is extraordinarily and conveniently murky.
Superman is then afraid of the Aliens, so it would seem. He also doesn't immediately flee the Predators and save Batman, which should be his prerogative. Batman is human, Superman is invulnerable.
Instead, in a remarkable (remarkable meaning incredibly inane) twist of plothole, Batman is taken prisoner by these Predators who, for some reason, don't kill a bested opponent, and taken to their leader, who they let Batman talk smack to and beat down without attacking.
These are PREDATORS, for crying out LOUD. They would kill Batman for his insolence and then pee on his cowl. Or at least TRY to.
So Batman establishes a rapport, beats their leader, figures out their language, and sits down in a pow-wow.
As this happens, Superman gives two lines of dialogue, flees the Aliens, stops the flow of lava, and saves Lois. This takes, I'm guessing, maybe two minutes of action by any common sense.
Batman's actions (being led down a corridor, figuring out a language, holding combat with the leader) would take at least fifteen to a half hour (assuming you buy that Batman is Hoshi and can figure out a language in three seconds flat).
That means that while Batman is fighting the Predator and being led down, number one, the volcano should be erupting, number two, Superman should be interacting in some way saving him. Unless, that is, Superman did a bunch of stuff that was just too cool to show or something.
Now what IS cool, for that matter? Superman fighting Aliens? Batman fighting Predators? Instead, they basically talk, and Batman fights one alien, this whole 64 page pile of crap. It's called Superman and Batman vs. Aliens and Predators, not Superman and Batman Realize the Potential Intellectually of the Predators and Their Rapport with Aliens while Communicating with Rudimentary Sign Language.
Here's a great one. Superman basically moves the lava flow to kill the Aliens, letting nature take its course, as he puts it. He then later rips on Batman for suggesting doing the same thing he actually did, before saying (to Batman's nods) how barbaric this would be.
Supes says, quote: "The greatest threats to the safety of the human race, destroyed by the Earth itself. Problem solved." The only thing that stalls him from killing them all (an act he later calls unconscionable) is saving Lois, who by all rights should be DEAD and is NOT NECESSARY (and thus dead weight exposition) in this already crappy story.
Superman is a d$ck!
Within hearing range of the Predators, while Superman is in costume, Lois calls Superman Clark. Not that bad, but not bright, either, and not what they do. Lois calls Clark Superman when he's Superman, because you never know who's listening. It's just sloppy writing.
So get this. Aliens and Predators kill an entire TDI team, they're crawling all over Earth, they slaughter Clark Kent and Lois' guides, and what do they do?
Immediately boot their butts off the planet or jail them somehow?
No. Superman offers to bring his Fortress to their volcanic cave (HUH?!) and let them leave Earth unpunished, because as he puts it, they're sentient.
Hitler's a sentient, you boob! You don't kill him if you're Superman, but you CERTAINLY haul his #$$ to the Hague instead of making a New Third Reich for him!
They listen to this story while the VOLCANO IS ERUPTING and there are ALIENS ON THE LOOSE.
Oh, but the story tries to cover for itself, explaining that these Predators are not like their brethren, because they were colonizing, not hunting. They're more civilized, because they can talk with their hands.
REGULAR PREDATORS CAN TALK. They can even communicate with humans, and do. See the laugh shared with Arnie before he's blown up, or the gesture of kindness with the Civil War revolver at the end of Predator 2.
The only difference, fundamentally, between these Predators and others (as evinced by the story's evidence) is that they SAY they were colonizers. That, and they don't kill sometimes and run, which seems to be strategy.
But then, if they're advanced like that, why the heck do they WHOLESALE SLAUGHTER GROUPS FOR FUN, ATTACK BATMAN, and RELEASE ALIENS TO KILL?
These are REGULAR PREDATORS when it's convenient to the story, and SPECIAL DIFFERENT PREDATORS when it's not. I hate to yell, but honest, this is just infuriating. Not only because I'd KILL for the opportunity to write a story like this and do it right, but because as a consumer I've paid for this one, and it sucks.
They crash landed 14,000 years ago, but haven't decided to come up because they're in complete perfect symbiosis until right now? And what rationale is offered for this? None. To find a new home because the volcano is erupting? So move to a tropical climate on Earth. Why would they be seeking crap at a foundry and B13 tech, which would be inferior to their own?
They brought Aliens to hunt, but what do the Aliens feed on? Are we to believe they sacrificed their own people to Aliens to let them propagate and then killed them? If so, how did they survive 14,000 years, and if not, how were they undetected?
Superman has to bring his Fortress to the ship in order to make their ship run? Krypton never figured out a flash drive? Or maybe he needs tools. None of this necessitates moving the Fortress, nor is the Fortress mobile...that is, unless this story is indicating that it's the tesseract Fortress, in which case the Luthor building contradicts the continuity, and beyond that, what would the Fortress offer that nothing else would? It's a plot device with little rationale other than "that'd be cool!"
Then we have the TDI of the Prime Nations, something that we've never heard of and will never hear of in that time period or post it, and suddenly they have nukes out of nowhere and the authority to use it on far-away countries without reprisal.
Garbage. Shameful garbage.
Art - 5: And equally shameful that such great art had to be paired with such an awful mishmash of what could have been a good story.
This Superman is very iconic, the Batman is cool, and the one fight really plays out well. This guy can draw one heck of a Predator, and varieties of it, and his Aliens rule too. I wanted to scream "Why isn't this guy being given better stuff!"
So I just did.
Cover Art - 4: A nice, painted cover, with a pose and situation relevant to the story, and that occurred in the story. It's a bit archetypical, so it's not a five, but it's so beautiful that it's almost made up for by its quality.
Mild Mannered Reviews
2007Note: Month dates are from the issue covers, not the actual date when the comic went on sale.
- Action Comics #845
- Superman #658
- Superman/Batman #31
- Superman Confidential #1
- Supergirl #12
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #24
- 52: Week 26
- 52: Week 27
- 52: Week 28
- 52: Week 29
- 52: Week 30
- Justice League of America #4
- JLA Classified #29
- Justice League Unlimited #27
- Krypto The Superdog #3
- Action Comics #846
- Superman #659
- Superman/Batman #32
- Superman Confidential #2
- Supergirl #13
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #25
- 52: Week 31
- 52: Week 32
- 52: Week 33
- 52: Week 34
- Justice League of America #5
- JLA Classified #30
- Infinite Holiday Special #1
- Justice #9
- Justice Society of America #1
- Justice League Unlimited #28
- Krypto The Superdog #4
- Superman #660
- Superman/Batman #33
- Superman Confidential #3
- All Star Superman #6
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #26
- 52: Week 35
- 52: Week 36
- 52: Week 37
- 52: Week 38
- 52: Week 39
- Superman & Batman vs. Aliens & Predators #1
- JLA Classified #31
- JLA Classified #32
- JLA Classified #33
- Justice Society of America #2
- Justice League Unlimited #29
- Krypto The Superdog #5
- Action Comics #847
- Superman #661
- Action Comics Annual #10
- Superman Confidential #4
- Supergirl #14
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #27
- 52: Week 40
- 52: Week 41
- 52: Week 42
- 52: Week 43
- Superman & Batman vs. Aliens & Predators #2
- Justice League of America #6
- JLA Classified #34
- JLA Classified #35
- Justice #10
- Justice Society of America #3
- Justice League Unlimited #30
- Krypto The Superdog #6
- Action Comics #848
- Superman #662
- Superman/Batman #34
- Supergirl #15
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #28
- 52: Week 44
- 52: Week 45
- 52: Week 46
- 52: Week 47
- Justice League of America #7
- JLA Classified #36
- Justice Society of America #4
- Justice League Unlimited #31
- Superman Confidential #5
- All Star Superman #7
- Supergirl #16
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #29
- 52: Week 48
- 52: Week 49
- 52: Week 50
- 52: Week 51
- World War III - Book One: A Call to Arms
- World War III - Book Two: The Valiant
- World War III - Book Three: Hell is for Heroes
- World War III - Book Four: United We Stand
- Justice League of America #8
- JLA Classified #37
- Justice #11
- Justice Society of America #5
- Justice League Unlimited #32
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #1
- Action Comics #849
- Action Comics #850
- Superman #663
- Superman/Batman #35
- Supergirl #17
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #30
- 52: Week 52
- Countdown 51
- Countdown 50
- Countdown 49
- Countdown 48
- Justice League of America #9
- JLA Classified #38
- Justice Society of America #6
- Justice League Unlimited #33
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #2
- Action Comics #851
- Superman #664
- Superman/Batman #36
- Superman/Batman #37
- All Star Superman #8
- Supergirl #18
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #31
- Countdown 47
- Countdown 46
- Countdown 45
- Countdown 44
- Justice League of America #10
- JLA Classified #39
- Justice #12
- Justice League Unlimited #34
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #3
- Action Comics #852
- Superman #665
- Superman/Batman #38
- Supergirl #19
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #32
- Countdown 43
- Countdown 42
- Countdown 41
- Countdown 40
- Justice League of America #11
- JLA Classified #40
- Justice Society of America #7
- Justice League Unlimited #35
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #4
- Action Comics #853
- Action Comics #854
- Action Comics #855
- Superman #666
- Superman/Batman #39
- Supergirl #20
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #33
- Countdown 39
- Countdown 38
- Countdown 37
- Countdown 36
- Countdown 35
- 52 Aftermath: Four Horsemen #1
- Justice League of America #12
- JLA Classified #41
- Justice Society of America #8
- Justice League Unlimited #36
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #5
- Action Comics #856
- Superman #667
- Superman/Batman #40
- Superman Confidential #6
- Supergirl #21
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #34
- Countdown 34
- Countdown 33
- Countdown 32
- Countdown 31
- 52 Aftermath: Four Horsemen #2
- JLA Wedding Special #1
- Justice League of America #13
- JLA Classified #42
- JLA Classified #43
- JLA/Hitman #1
- Infinity Inc. #1
- Justice Society of America #9
- Justice League Unlimited #37
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #6
- Action Comics #857
- Action Comics #858
- Superman #668
- Superman #669
- Superman/Batman #41
- Superman Confidential #7
- Superman Confidential #8
- All Star Superman #9
- Supergirl #22
- Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #35
- Teen Titans #52
- Countdown 30
- Countdown 29
- Countdown 28
- Countdown 27
- Countdown 26
- 52 Aftermath: Four Horsemen #3
- Justice League of America #14
- JLA Classified #44
- JLA Classified #45
- JLA/Hitman #2
- Infinity Inc. #2
- Justice Society of America #10
- Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Cyborg Superman #1
- Tales of the Sinestro Corps Presents: Superman Prime #1
- Infinite Halloween Special #1
- Justice League Unlimited #38
- Legion of Super Heroes in the 31st Century #7
Back to the Mild Mannered Reviews contents page.
Check out the Comic Index Lists for the complete list of Superman-related comics published in 2007.