Epic. If I had one word to describe this issue, epic is all that comes to mind. Generally, Predator stories, including the first two parts of Predator: Life and Death, seem to always be slow and building suspense ending with a great battle or ambush. This issue breaks the mold by book ending the issue with action, the beginning and final pages show an all out war by competent Marines against a squad of Predators, and quite simply, it’s awesome.
If you’re just jumping in or need a refresher, basically a team of Marines are investigating a planet owned by the Weyland-Yutani cooperation suspected to be pillaged and prospected by space pirates. Easy enough, except there’s an alien horseshoe ship artifact, that by law the Marines have to secure and commandeer. Again, easy enough, except for the squad of Predators on the planet. Pretty standard for your typical Alien/Predator universe story, the “go somewhere and there’s dangerous extraterrestrials their formula; if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
This story, as true of the universe it’s from, is driven by greed (usually of Weyland-Yutani), arrogance, ignorance of they’re up against, and eventually desperation. I do need to credit long time writer Dan Abnett for making it easy to keep track of the larger cast. Many times, a lot of characters seem to keep lost in the shuffle and are as expendable as a Red Shirt in Star Trek. However, Abnett has done a great job writing quite a few characters with distinct personalities that you remember, even in this short mini-series.
Also of note is the superb work of artist Brian Albert Thies, who worked on the recent Star Wars Legacy and Winter Soldier runs. The artwork is fantastic, most notably in this issue, besides the phenomenal action panels, is a great poster-worthy full-page Predator. When you get to the page, you’ll see exactly what I mean.
If, like me, you’re wondering why the cover says part three of four but the inside cover says part three of seventeen, in an interview with Newsrama, Abnett said: “Though self-contained, this Predator series is the first part of a major event, “Life and Death” that will draw together all the three franchises represented here: in fact, Predator, Aliens, Aliens versus Predator and Prometheus. It’s a big story, laden with extreme danger, and our Marines are caught right at the center of it. I’m be writing the whole event, threading each mini-series installment together into one big epic.” The seventeenth issue will be an all-encompassing conclusion.
I am looking forward for the conclusion of the Predator sequence of this run. I recommend if you have been reading Life and Death to keep reading. If the first 3 issues are any indication, Abnett and Thies are taking us on a wild ride. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t been reading, then I rude you to catch up and keep up.
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Thies
Colorist: Rain Beredo
Cover Artist: David Palumbo
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics