Title: Predator: The Essential Comics.
Writer(s): Mark Verheiden & Franz Henkel.
Illustrator(s): Chris Warner, Ron Randall, Dan Barry & Mark Bright.
Publisher: Dark Horse Books.
Release Date: December 24th 2018.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.
I still remember when I was a kid and I first saw the Predator go up against an elite military rescue team led by Arnold Schwarzenegger. The tense moments, the silent take-downs, the furious gunfire into the wilderness, the epic duel between alien and human. Let’s not forget Arnold Schwarzenegger’s lines that somehow made him sound like a scholar with more experience than a World War II veteran. He still however managed to deliver one of the most epic lines ever with his wonderful accent. As I revisited Predator and Predator 2 recently, I found myself baffled by how much they missed their target with the sequel and its odd setting. At least the creature remains one of the coolest extraterrestrial beings to have ever been invented alongside the Xenomorph. But what happens when you let writers and artists give their own take on these creatures?
In Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1, Dark Horse Books recollect four stories set after the events of Predator (1987) which includes Concrete Jungle (1989) by Mark Verheiden, Cold War (1993) by Mark Verheiden, Dark River (1996) by Mark Verheiden as well as the comic book adaptation of the film sequel Predator 2 (1991) by Franz Henkel. Concrete Jungle, Cold War and Dark River are stories that follow Dutch Schaefer’s big brother as he hunts down the mysterious killer who is terrorizing New York City during one of its hottest summers ever. As a hot-headed macho New York City police detective, he quickly finds himself looking for the whereabouts of his brother and the catastrophe that surrounds his death only to later face a technologically-advanced alien humanoid. The stories are all sequels to each other, except the comic book adaptation of Predator 2, and look into giving fans exactly what they crave for with this franchise, from cheesy dialogues to gore-filled action sequences.
As fans of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Predator (1987) movie wait impatiently for a sequel to drop on them, the comic book industry took the opportunity to capitalize on everyone’s withdrawal and deliver comic book stories set in the same world and right after the events of the cult classic movie. Without having Dutch Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) himself present in the stories, Mark Verheiden continues to fully exploit his creativity, as he did with the Aliens franchise, to further explore the lore surrounding these creatures. Oddly enough, most of these stories take heavy inspiration on elements seen in Predator 2 (1990) and presents us with memorable moments that sometimes felt like déjà vu. However, fans of the franchise will rejoice in being able to see more of this world with insights on the creature’s weaknesses and an exploration of their innovative and fascinating weaponry. Not going to lie, but they have some very creative and deadly traps that you just don’t want to be the recipient of.
The artwork is also very reminiscent of the time period these comic book stories were created and are actually really decent both in style and colours. With each story, the artwork also sees improvements, with thicker colouring and lines. The real downside is in characterization as it suffers to convey compelling story-telling at the expense of quality writing. In fact, Dutch Schaefer’s brother is far from being a fascinating character as he loves to charge into danger without a care in the world only to exhibit his ginormous physique and his enraged personality. Then again, his character serves as an excellent vehicle to hurl this story into the action as often as possible. After all, it is for the bloody action sequences that most fans are here for. From how much these predators love to tear the heads off humans, to hanging them upside down, to blowing up their heads with their lasers, there’s simply nothing that these creatures aren’t capable of.
Predator: The Essential Comics Volume 1 is the dose of Predator that every fan is craving for with all of its action-packed and gore-filled adventures.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and Dark Horse Books for sending me a copy for review!
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