Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #3


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Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War #3


  • Words: Randy Stradley
  • Art: Rick Leonardi
  • Inks: Mark Pennington
  • Colors: Wes Dzioba
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Apr 7, 2010

Back in 1990, Dark Horse Comics published what would turn out to be the first in a surprisingly lucrative franchise crossover, with their Aliens vs. Predator limited series. Since then, the sci-fi/ horror property mash-up has spawned a plethora of comic book sequels, feature films, novels, and action figures. Today, the two franchises seem joined at the hip, enjoying a strange symbiotic relationship that has translated into a multitude of new marketing opportunities and avenues for creative exploration.

Even more fascinating than the financial success enjoyed by these two distinctive properties, is the new fictional mythology born out of their union. The first AvP movie did an unexpectedly good job weaving the core premises of both franchises into a believable whole. It not only helped revive both failing properties but also inextricably linked them in a credible and sustainable fashion. It’s probably the best and most accessible entry in the AvP library, providing a succinct, action-packed introduction to the characters’ shared secret history.

Randy Stradley, the writer who penned both AvP: War and the original mini, returns in Three World War to complete his trilogy, chronicling the latest exploits of his popular character Machiko Maguchi. As the only human to be accepted by the Predators as one of their own, she’s recruited by the Colonial Marines to help thwart the devious schemes of a rogue group of Hunters who control a vast Alien horde. This third installment witnesses the solidification of an alliance, brokered by Maguchi, between the Predators and the Colonial Marines.

Stradley has an obvious affinity for the characters and concepts from both franchises, especially Maguchi, who’s acted as an integral vehicle for the crossovers, since the original limited series. The pacing is appropriately brisk and the characterization fairly solid, thanks to Stradley’s familiarity with the material. Having said that, Three World War doesn’t really add anything new to the AvP mythos.

The plot is formulaic, following a motley band of gritty heroes battling overwhelming odds, against a savage and unpredictable enemy. There’s nothing here fans haven’t already encountered in any of the comics, movies, or novels based on these properties. While the story plays out on a huge scale, the plot doesn’t possess the emotional urgency to properly communicate the high stakes at risk, in this latest confrontation between humans, Aliens, and Predators. As a friend of mine is fond of saying, it just lacks opera.

This absence of emotional weight is only exacerbated by Rick Leonardi’s minimalist cartoonish style. Although his work remains typically fluid and his layouts easy to follow, Leonardi is an odd match for a book featuring exotic aliens and intricate, futuristic military hardware. His style lacks the definition and detail necessary to really make these characters and the world they inhabit pop for the audience. The result is a diluted finished product that doesn’t really do the richness and the complexity of the source universes justice.

AvP is unique in modern entertainment for it’s groundbreaking, successful merger of two distinct fictional universes. Unfortunately, Stradley and Leonardi fail to deepen the audience’s understanding and knowledge of either of these vast, complex realms, offering up a disappointing chapter in an otherwise intriguing marriage.

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