The Game Has Evolved, But Has It Really?: Reviewing ‘Predator’ #1
by Brendan M. Allen
I’ve been really optimistic with Marvel’s acquisition of the Aliens and Predator franchises. The publisher has unlimited resources to make these things grow legs and walk, but somehow they just can’t make them move. Not in a really impactful way, anyway. The creative team could swap in almost any generic monster for the Yautja, and you’d hardly notice.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one. On a strange planet, eight humans find themselves in a deadly game. They’re involved in some sort of canned hunt, as the prey. Other creatures have also been imported for this cruel sport, and they pose almost as much threat as the Yautja that are hunting them all. There’s also a banger of a predictable cameo reveal that you should 100% already know is coming if you read writer Ed Brisson’s previous take on these mythos.
Brisson does a fair enough job within the parameters, but doesn’t really cover any new ground. Starting the story with a chase through the jungle, and then continuing that chase through the entire chapter with hardly any quiet moments doesn’t leave any room to get to know the characters. So far, I gather there’s an Irishman, a redneck, a few women, and a decent array of skin tones.
I will give points for the diversity of the cast, but so far, there aren’t any compelling reasons to care about any of them. At least one of the hunted party gets wasted in this chapter, and I honestly couldn’t tell you their name, or give you a single fact about them, except that they won’t be writing home tomorrow.
The art is the high point of this first chapter. Netho Diaz, Belardino Bravo, and Victor Nava deliver frenetic brutal action sequences that are colored skillfully by Erick Arciniega, who pulls out some slick tricks with the Predator armor phasing in and out of camouflage mode. There are a couple little hiccups with anatomy (That first group run after the title page is all kinds of awkward), but extra points given for realism of Earth weapons, trigger discipline, and muzzle discipline.
I used to think I was a huge fan of both the Aliens and Predator franchises, but as time goes by and more entries are added, I’m beginning to think I really only like the original couple movies in each set. Looking through the respective catalogs, there are far more dirt clods than diamonds. I’m not ready to give up on Marvel’s Predator (2023), because first issues are notoriously difficult, but I’m not sold on it just yet.