I enjoyed this 4-part series, Dark Horse Comics’ first foray into the world of licensed Predator comics. Sure, in the years since the Predator concept has sort of worn out its welcome – did anybody ask for books like Witchblade /Darkness /Alien /Predator and Predator vs Shaq? - but back in the Eighties, a Predator comic book was practically guaranteed fun.
Written by Mark Verheiden with burly art by Chris Warner, Predator was a comic book sequel to the 1987 Arnold Shwarzenegger film that actually beat the film sequel (Predator 2) to market.
Predator matches the macho swagger of the Arnold film and cranks up the tough one-liners and action all the way to the proverbial “11” on the dial. The movie had one Predator? This comic has mass Predators. The movie blew up a jungle? This one blows up city blocks. The movie had Arnold? Well, this comic has Arnold’s tougher bigger brother.
And he is totally not fucking around:
That guy is gonna kill him some Predators.
I won’t go into the details of the plot, but in this issue Arnold’s Big Brother goes down to the sweltering Central American jungle where Lil’ Bro fought the first Predator. For those communists who haven’t seen the film, a Predator is an intergalactic big game hunter who visits our planet and others in order to hunt dangerous game – us. The alien hunters only go after worthy prey like Arnold, Batman, and Shaquille O’Neal – if you’re a big wuss the Predators won’t even bother with you.
(An aside – in the Predator movies they make a big deal about how the aliens only visit during heat waves because they don’t enjoy being cold. Yet the film Aliens vs Predator takes place in the Arctic Circle and the Predators don’t get so much as a scarf to keep them warm. Whattup with that?)
Anyway, Arnold’s Big Brother is the world’s toughest cop and he’s come to sweltering Central America to kick some Predator ass. It took Arnold and company a whole movie to kill their Predator, but Arnold’s Big Brother kills his alien dead in like, three pages. What do they feed those Shaeffer boys anyway?
While Arnold’s Big Brother terminates his Predator relatively quickly, it’s not easy. He gets pummeled quite a bit early in the fight, but not badly enough that he can't spit one-liners from his bloodied lips:
Arnold's Big Brother does a little rope-a-dope move on his opponent, taking some brutal hits so he can get close enough to, yes, smash a salt container into the Predator's eye! Yowch!
Man, thank God he brought a salt shaker with him in the depths of the humid jungle! If he had been packing some cinnamon or paprika he would have been totally screwed.
Verheiden's script strikes the right balance between violent adolescent fantasy and... um... violent adolescent fantasy, and Chris Warner's art on this book is solid and his pages are well designed. Warner also drew a Terminator series for Dark Horse that was equally good, art-wise. He's one of those guys that draws everybody in the comic as hulking brutes, which works really well when your comic is populated by hulking brutes. I think his stuff is keen.
Dark Horse's Predator comic - four issues of macho action that doesn't take itself too seriously. It's worth checking out, if only to compare it to the flood of lesser-quality licensed books that followed in its wake.