PREDATOR: LIFE AND DEATH #1, published by Dark Horse Comics, isn’t available for purchase until March 2nd, but trust me you’re going to want to get your hands on this one. Written by Dan Abnett, and artwork by Brian Albert Thies, the issue develops a story with an encompassing imaginative world that Predator deserves. I can’t comment on Predator’s other comic adaptions like the crossover with Batman, or Archie, but I definitely see this issue as an extremely accurate portrayal.
The plot is relatively simple. An overworked and trigger-happy United Stated Colonial Marine Corps (USCM) unit, is sent to an alien planet to scout a Weyland-Yutani location for a “standard compliance investigation.” A typical story-line for the franchise, much like the original Predator, but the uniqueness comes from the dialogue and how it sculpts the characters. The most impressive personality comes from Captain Paget. She’s a strong female, who questions the Weyland-Yutani representative on the “minimal” amount of risk of this operation. The back and forth between her and Mr. Lorimer sets a strong precedent of her leadership and qualities, in which we see later when she interacts with her unit. She clearly has full control and trust of them. Her demeanor, pessimism, and strength is reminiscent of Ripley from the Alien franchise.
The rest of the characters are colorful, sharp tongued, military wise-crackers, and although they don’t get as many panels as Captain Paget, there’s enough moments to gather a little connection to them. This factor enhances the build-up of tension due to their charisma and knowing the Predator realm, one starts to wonder who is going to get turned inside out. The characters are also refreshingly diverse in ethnicity, and gender.
As much as the book exceeds at establishing well-crafted characters, and preparing readers for an epic showdown with Predator, the art alone is worth every penny. Whether we see the inter-workings on the spaceships, or the expanse of this alien world, it’s all captivating eye-candy. I cannot express how well Brian Thesis shapes this universe. There is minute detail in everything, which really helps feeling encompassed and transported into the individuals realms. The variety of color helps propel this, as well. The environments stand apart with magnificent blends of swirled textured color unique to each place.
Overall, this book builds on great characters, great tension, and glorious artwork. These attributes provide an entertaining first issue to jump start this four part arc. It has the payoff of the Predator, and an enticing cliffhanging for the next chapter. Dark Horse Comics may just have a hit on their hands for Predator, Alien, and action fans alike. Keep your eyes peeled for March 2nd.