MINOR SPOILERS BELOW
Predator: Life and Death #1 is very much the love child of James Cameron’s Aliens and John McTiernan’s Predator. While this isn’t the first time Dark Horse Comics has pitted Colonial Marines against the Yautja (the species name for the alien hunters in the Predator franchise), but Abnett tweaks a classic scenario by sending a group of tough-as-nails soldiers and a Weyland-Yutani representative to investigate some unseemly behavior taking place in the far reaches of space. (This time, it’s not a colonist that needs intervention, but potentially unlicensed prospecting by the Seegson Corporation of Alien: Isolation.) It’s not long after touch down on the planet Tartarus (a.k.a. LV-797) that our group of grunts runs into signs of slaughter and an extraterrestrial presence or two. In the end, the stage is set for a bloody, violent, and brutal battle between the armed-to-the-teeth space jarheads (They’ve got hoverbikes with smart guns attached!)and the “little green men” who beat up Arnie.
I’ve been an uber-fan of Dark Horse’s Predator and Aliens comics since the beginning. In fact, they were the very books that introduced me to the world of comics and graphic novels (Read more about that here), and as a long-time reader, I can barely express how exciting it is to see the publisher making a push to kickstart this universe with the inclusion of the Predator, Aliens, and Prometheus franchises. Last year’s Fire and Stone books established the canonical connection, and in Predator: Life and Death, Abnett is certainly picking up that ball and running with it. While it’s still a bit early in the plot to know exactly where we’re heading, Abnett does seems to be establishing elements (like the presence of an Engineer’s derelict ship) that hint at a bigger plot and payoff than just marines and predators going at it.
Thies and Beredo perform an admirable job in the visual art department, complementing each other’s skills and styles for a final product that is gritty, primal, and gripping. Thies and Beredo’s depictions of the Yautja, even when cloaked in their trademark style, is especially on target, making the hunters both intimidating and awesome.
FINAL VERDICT: Without hesitation, Predator: Life and Death #1 is worth picking up or, better yet, adding to your pull list. Dark Horse continues to do what the the Predator, Aliens, and Prometheus film franchises should be doing by building an interconnected universe set in the extremely popular future established by the Carmon’s Aliens film. It remains to be seen if the rest of the series will follow suit, but Predator: Life and Death #1 is certainly an exciting first chapter that is absolutely full of potential.
You can find out more about Predator: Life and Death by visiting the official Dark Horse Comics website.
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers! Keep your eyes on those motion trackers!
'Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer