Thursday, May 10, 2007

PREDATOR #2 Dark Horse Comics, 1989

"I'm meaner than a motheruckin' hyena chasin' antelope"
-Ice Cube "The Predator"

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.

Bring salt.


Dwayne "the canoe guy" said...

You also need crackers to pull the moisture out of the salt. Oh, wait. That's to pull the moisture out of sugar.

Will said...

In fairness, they established the salt shaker with an earlier scene of him sitting around doing snake bites to alleviate the boredom of waiting for his guide. Which is also kind of hardcore; I'd probably be reading a book and drinking iced water.

Jeff said...

I've only seen AVP one time, Dave, but doesn't the cursory backstory at least hint that the Antarctic was tropical back when the Predators built their giant alien-killing proto-Mayan temple? Kind of like the Savage Land, but with fewer illegitimate X-babies.

verification fever:Iztznz - the name of the lead Predator in AVP.

Chris said...

Chris Warner rocks. I loved his Black Cross stuff, and he did a mean Moon Knight, too.

Anonymous said...

I won't defend the quality of the AvP movie, but it was at least pretty clear that the reason the Predators fought the Aliens in the Antarctic was as a right of passage, not a regular hunt. Makes sense to me, then, that they'd send 'em somewhere cold to prove their worth.

Mike Noga said...

Remember Predator vs Tarzan? That rocked. Tarz kicked all their asses and then just to show how bad ass he truly was, he got it on with the meanest female predator and made her beg for more. A Walt Simonson production I believe.

Dan Coyle said...

Verheiden's Predator kicks ass. It's a pitch perfect 80s action movie on the comic book page. One of the best running gags is when something horrible happens, Schaefer responds, "You say that as if it were a bad thing."

And hey, trade collecting it is out this August!

dara said...

"Chris Warner rocks. I loved his Black Cross stuff, and he did a mean Moon Knight, too."

Dang it, that was going to be my comment.

Morgan said...

Wait -- is there actually such a thing as a fully automatic SHOTGUN that looks like an M-16 and fires 6 shots a second? I question this!

Anonymous said...

morgan> Yep, USAS-12, not sure about the six shots a second (probably more like 2 per second) and it weighs like sixteen pounds but it's out there.

Mechamage82 said...

... anyone else notice the first 'here' in the gun totting Arnold-2 panel is actually wrong? Shouldn't it be 'hear'?

SallyP said...

Ummm...I don't want to go all girly-girl on you guys, but the testosterone is just DRIPPING from the pages of this book.

Anonymous said...

The Predator, Terminator, and Aliens books from this era are all extremely high-quality, even if you don't consider they're just licensed books. Verheiden's Aliens series is much more than violent adolescent fantasy, though it provides that, too.

Jack Potts said...

I remember when that book came out and your description of Chris Warner's "burly" art was spot-on. It had more testosterone than Beau Smith and Chuck Dixon knife-fighting in a strip club. Totally Airwolf book!

And speaking of which:

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Salt? Using salt to stop a Predator?

Yes, it worked, but he had to accompany the salt with that giant friggin' automatic shotgun to take care of business.

Had he brought a handful of Hostess Fruit Pies, the whole mess would have been over in a page. Chuck a few of them at the feet of the Predator hordes and your problem is solved.

I suppose they had to forbid the HFP defense to ensure the series would run four issues.

The Mutt said...

Eeeewwwww!!! Did the Predator disolve like a Garden Slug?

BTW - Tarzan kicks all ass. Dinosaurs. Predators. Batman. Don't matter. All fall before the Lord of the Apes.

Edward Liu said...

mechamage82: "... anyone else notice the first 'here' in the gun totting Arnold-2 panel is actually wrong? Shouldn't it be 'hear'?"

Dave clipped the next panel, when the Latin American dude said exactly that.

Big Arnold blew his ass away with the giant shotgun and muttered, "Homonym pansy."

SanctumSanctorumComix said...

Chris Warner was one of those '80's artists whose work I always loved.

Black Cross was nifty stuff.
And, yes, I do believe I have some of his Predator work, as well.

To give him added cred (in my nerdy book of geek-cred tabulation), he drew some fine issues of Doctor Strange as well.

Whatever happened to the man?

Did he wander off into the jungle and forget his salt?

That would be ironic.


Goody said...

I think that the last thing I saw Chris Warner do was a Team 7 mini for Wildstorm in the late 90's. It featured several superpowered burly men beating on other superpowered burly men, with guns. It was in fact pretty awesome. I wish he'd come back and do more Black Cross for Dark Horse, that was some fun post-apocalyptic America comics.

Shane said...

They should totally blame global warming on the Predators adapting our world for one last massive hunt.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Uh Dave, Is it just me or did you just turn into the Velvet Marauder?

Chris said...

These Predator comics were like crack for me when they first came out. Then they went and got crappy.

Smaug said...


philip said...

It's interesting to hear that Verheiden was once capable of exciting storytelling. I first noticed him for his boring run on Action Comics and, later, as the scripter of the most tedious episodes of Battlestar Galactica.
But now I'm just being catty.

Andrew Glazebrook said...

I loved the artwork in this comic !!!

Anonymous said...

Quite frankly, I can't get past that typo in the first panel you showed.

"If you here it" indeed.

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