For a book about two of the most dangerous off world races in all of fiction, I’ve got to say… this book sure had a lot of talking going on. Now, I’m usually one to prefer a slow build to nothing but senseless knockdown, drag-out action. But then, this is Aliens vs. Predator – if ever there was a time and a place for mindless violence with little to no regard for story telling, this would be it. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
This issue is a slow build giving us the back story on just what’s going wrong in the world of the future, and why the marines are resorting to partnering up with civilians. Then we get some show and tell, though in the other order, as to why these particular civilians are the right people for the job. The only action that actually involves our main characters comes over the course of the last few pages of the issue. Everything else is either part of a flashback of sorts, or it’s a “meanwhile back at the ranch” kind of scene, where we see the threat that our protagonists will, theoretically, eventually be up against.
For me, this issue was a step back from the first. Not bad, but still not particularly good. Leonardi’s art continues to get me from cover to cover without leaving too terribly much of an impression on me, and this time out, Stradley’s writing feels as though the scribe’s been forced to tread water for the better part of an issue.
Altogether, AvP: 3WW #2 gets 3 out of 5 surprise synths
On a sidenote – DC has recently announced their plans for Earth One, a series of trade paperbacks of varying length contained within their own continuity. By publishing the stories originally as trades, DC can give their writers free reign in terms of pacing; as opposed to having to break their story down into x number of 22 page segments.
A story like the one Stradley’s telling here would greatly benefit from that sort of format. There’s plenty in this issue that needed to happen – you couldn’t simply have scrapped the whole thing. But, by the same token, there wasn’t quite enough going on to fill an issue, as I suspect next month’s installment will start off with something big that could not also have been squeezed in here. It is a peril of the medium, but it’s exactly the reason that innovative new formats are so appealing to writers and audiences alike.