With the release of the Prey movie on Hulu (it’s very good, you should go watch it) the alien hunter known only as “the Predator” is back in the public consciousness, and since Disney owns both Marvel and Fox now it makes sense that Marvel would release a Predator comic in order to cash in on the hype.
Spoiler alert: it doesn’t seem that this comic takes place in the same universe as the Alien movies, despite the fact that it wouldn’t be that much of an issue and that it’s established that these two horror franchises have crossed over in the past, but it’s a big universe and comics shouldn’t cater to the whims of fanboys to be good, so let’s see how it turns out.
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Kev Walker
Colored by Frank D’Armata
Lettered by VC’S Clayton Cowles
HUNT. KILL. REPEAT.
In the near future, a young girl sees her family slaughtered by the deadliest and most feared hunter in the universe: a PREDATOR. Years later, though her ship is barely holding together and food is running short, Theta won’t stop stalking the spaceways until the Yautja monster who killed her family is dead…or she is. Ed Brisson (IRON FIST, GHOST RIDER) and Kev Walker (DR. STRANGE, DOCTOR APHRA) forge a violent, heartbreaking and unforgettable new chapter in the PREDATOR saga not to be missed!
With the exception of the recent movie, the timeline of the Predator franchise has been slowly moving forwards, with several movies of varying quality and success. “Predator” #1 advances the timeline to the year 2056, where humanity has managed to reach the stars and has begun colonizing different worlds and making contact with alien civilizations on their own terms. However, just because humanity has become more advanced doesn’t mean we are any less vulnerable. If anything, it’s created new opportunities for the Predator aliens to hunt what seems to be their favorite prey. This leads the comic to introduce readers to a lone wolf badass named Theta Berwick, who watched her entire family and colony ship get butchered by a Predator alien and is now on a one woman quest for vengeance.
“Predator” #1 is written by long time comic book scribe Ed Brisson, who is a very capable writer and one of the best choices for this kind of story. Brisson has the book jump back and forth between flashbacks of Theta’s childhood where she witnessed her family get slaughtered and the present day, where she is aggressively tracking the Predator that made her an orphan. Brisson does a very good job of making Theta a very intelligent and capable protagonist, showing how Theta is able to adapt and utilize the Predator’s equipment though context clues and years of vengeance fueled experience. There’s even a fun little bit where Brisson adds to the Predator’s mythology by showing their hunting patterns and social cues. However, Brisson knows that a good protagonist must have their limits and flaws, and he does a great job of combining this with a bit of world building by showing that she is less of a paid soldier and more of a lone wolf mercenary who has pissed a lot of people off in order to get what she needs. Plus, there’s a fun little bit where Theta botches a first contact situation when she can’t communicate with a different species of alien, who mistakes her for a Predator. It’s a solid introduction to a very interesting character, which breeds interest in what happens next.
While “Predator” #1 is a great character introduction and does a solid job with it’s world building, there are a couple of broad macro problems that prevent the book from being perfect. First, the book doesn’t do a very good job of separating the flashbacks from the present day. While it’s easy to figure out once you know what’s going on, it is possible for readers to get a tiny bit confused at first. The second issue was already mentioned in the intro paragraphs, has less to do with Brisson’s writing and more to do with editorial and company planning, and is entirely my own opinion. It’s been established that the Predator and Alien share the same universe in the movies, so why hasn’t the comic done the same? Theta’s parents are interstellar colonists, but they don’t work for Weyland Yutani and there are no hints that the Alien is going to show up in this comic. Granted, Marvel is in no way beholden to the whims of the fans and they can do as they see fit, it just feels like a missed opportunity and something that fans are going to be asking about.Continued below
The artwork for “Predator” #1 is provided by Kev Walker with colors by Frank D’Armata and is perfectly functional and does a solid job of making everything clear and relatively easy to understand. Walker’s pencils and D’Armata’s colors combine to create a book that feels like a lot of recent Marvel’s books over the past couple of years, something that could reasonably be described as Marvel’s in house art style. It’s a very pretty book, the alien flora and fauna looks interesting with lots of fascinating creature designs and pretty flora, but this is an art style that favors clarity and meeting a deadline over innovation and taking its time to try something new. On top of the pretty alien worlds, Walker does a great job of showing human and Predator tech and how they contrast with each other and the natural world around them. While the human tech looks functional and like it could be an equal to the Predator, it’s a lot more functional, less ornate, and has a lot more rounded corners than the Predator’s ship and weapons.
“Predator” #1 is a well written and perfectly serviceable introduction to a new era of Predator human relations where humanity may still be hunted for sport, but at least this time we have a fighting chance. The only problems this book has are on a broad, macro world building level which aren’t too big of a deal.
Final Verdict: 8.6- This is a book that understands what it is and the story it wants to tell, the only issue is a missed world building opportunity.