Let me start off by saying that I’m actually a pretty big fan of the Predator series. I own a copy of DHP (or Dark Horse Presents) #67, which contains a few different sections of comics, one of which is Predator: Race Wars Part One of Three. I’ve seen most of the Predator series (the exclusions being Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem and the 2010 Predators remake/reboot/sequel?), and pride myself on some, maybe not all, but some of the Predator Universe. So, when I heard that Dark Horse Comics is about to release a new Predator series, I couldn’t help but to take a look.
The scene is set about a year after the events in the Fire and Stone story arc. Immediately you are brought on board the Rapid-Response Combat Ship Hasdrubel, and are taking a spectators seat to all that is going on. A conversation between Mr. Lorimer, a Representative for Weyland-Yutani, and Captain Paget (you don’t get the captain’s name until page seventeen, but hey, at least you get pounded into you that the captain is a woman that you probably don’t want to mess with in a dark alleyway somewhere) fills the first three and a half pages with backstory as to why they are even there on Tartarus doing a mission. The short of it, unlicensed prospectors are acquiring assets on the planet without Weyland-Yutani’s permission, so they called in, and are now getting assisted by the Hasdruebel.
So Much Dialogue…
Either way, you get to meet the rest of the crew, whom are bright and cheerful characters, I guess you could say. Let’s face it, THEY ARE SOLIDERS. They curse, gossip, and are atypically trigger-happy, but you constantly see the bond between everyone and their Captain. There is a part where between Captain Paget and one of the crew members, Jhalil, about the use of “not good out-loud words” that is rather hilarious, and makes you think that the Captain is apart of #TeamLanguage. Something else that I feel needs to be mentioned here is how much small detail is given to that way of life. It’s almost like a behind-the-scenes of modern day armed forces. I feel that this is the highlight of the entire story that Dan Abnett has written. Literally, from here on out, the whole feel of the comic changes from one that is more thoughtful, and detailed in words, to one that is more thoughtful, and detailed in actions. Every frame begins to look, feel, and sound more like something out of Jarhead or Starship Troopers the longer you read.
You Gossiping Gooses, You…
Captain Paget and her team take a ship down to Tartarus’ surface, and set out searching for the individuals that brought them there in the first place. The first thing they run into is abandoned excavator units shielded by a dome of foil tarps, and they take some time to check around the site. The team soon pushes forward and finds a demolished Lander Tractor Unit, with a man hiding behind it, Laurence Goode. Goode seems to just ramble on about “Them“, leaving the team more confused than before the encounter. Captain Paget and a fellow officer Singer stumble upon a massive ship that their previous scans did not pick up, also leaving more questions than answers.
That’s when the moment everyone has been waiting for begins… The Hunt. Three members of the team get a bit distracted by the bugs that the planet has to offer. Chimo is constantly attracting and being bitten by this bugs, leaving the other two mocking him, while the Predator watches in the shadows. Red dots appear out of no where on Chimo’s face, and they suddenly he has no face, or head for that matter. The remaining two fire about wildly, and leaving splatters of green blood around them. One has to reload, giving the Predator the opportunity to impale him in the back. The last remaining of the three runs off in a panic, and comes face to face with a Predator before he also meets his gruesome end.
Fatality… (See What I Did There?)
That’s where the story leaves off, giving me an chance to talk a bit about the artwork and design of the comic, and it’s a again detailed in small ways. Brian Albert Thies didn’t do very detailed work in a singular sense. Instead of focusing on one object or person in a frame and doing major detail work revolving from that, he went with giving you a multitude of objects and people to look at in each frame. Nothing is going to stand out as being super pretty pieces of art, but instead stand out with out much he actually stuffs into the picture. There’s a part on the smaller ship going to Tartarus’s surface where you see a bunch of troops, a console, the Captain looking at four different screens at a different console, and the rest of the interior of the ship. That’s just one frame out of five on that page. None are drawn with a ton of detail work, but goes hand-in-hand with the idea that you are an observer to all that is going, a little fly on the wall of all that is happening around you. I admire this choice. It’s not what’s really “in” right now, but gives an almost retro vibe, and leaves you to focus more on what going on, than how pretty someone’s face looks on the page.
This is the Frame I was Speaking of. My Eyes Can’t Decide What to Look At…
I have only one complaint: it is the first three and a half pages, the ones containing all the backstory, and character history on Captain Paget. It’s wordy, and seems to take a while to get through. I see where they tried to liven it up a bit, throwing in a few jokes, but they fall flat when they are surround by so much information and detail. An argument can be made for this happening the way that it did though, since there was so much information being thrown at you, sticking it elsewhere or trying to stuff it in smaller bits might take a way from the rest of the comic, which was amazing, by diluting it with these basic things you need to know about the storyline. Seriously, if you can make it through those first set of pages, it flows better, looks better, and is an absolutely amazing comic.
Overall, fantastic book. Besides one little groaning thing, this comic is extremely good. It’s gory. It’s raw. It’s everything you come to expect from the Predator franchise.