During its time on the silver screen and the pages of Dark Horse comics, the species of intergalactic hunters commonly referred to by Geekdom as “Predators” (or the Yautja to the thoroughly obsessed and informed Predator fan) has hunted many types of game, from the acid-bleeding Xenomorph to the Dark Knight himself. Well, thanks to Dark Horse Comics‘ latest release, Archie vs. Predator #1, writer Alex de Campi and the art team of Fernando Ruiz (pencils), Rich Koslowski (inks), and Jason Millet (colors), Arnie’s ultimate alien adversary is back on the hunt, this time visiting the idyllic town of Riverdale (home base for Archie and the gang) with a few days to kill . . .
Archie vs. Predator #1 opens with Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, and the rest of the gang heading to a tropical, luxury beach vacation in Costa Rica. Given the title, Archie vs. Predator, it isn’t hard to imagine who the unexpected guest is that joins them in the sweltering jungle. Operating much like the original Predator film, de Campi’s script features a slow build as the alien hunter observes his prey, studying them thoroughly before moving in for the kill. Watching the Predator slice and dice is always more interesting when one is invested in the characters targeted for skull-and-spine removal, and the slow build also allows readers who are unfamiliar with either property to quickly jump in. The body count may be fairly low by the end of issue #1, but given that the Predator extends his vacation by following Archie and the others back to Riverdale at the end of the issue, one has to imagine that it’s only a matter of time before the floors of Pop’s Chocklit Shoppe run red with blood.
The plot and dialogue pop in de Campi’s script like a human head hit by a well-placed plasma caster shot, and she unapologetically throws in various nods to the original film (“ . . . I’m a gosh-darn sexual Tyrannosaur . . . ”) that easily won over my fanboy heart. While the concept of mashing together Archie and The Predator may seem like the comic book equivalent of mixing pickles and marshmallow peeps (two great things that don’t seem to go great together), de Campi and the rest of the team at Dark Horse have stolen (or, perhaps, borrowed) a line from Captain Mal Reynolds and “done the impossible,” delivering a fun, insane, and yet easily-digestible comic book crossover that is also guaranteed to be remembered as a historic moment in pop culture history. I’d be remiss if I only praised Dark Horse Comics for this bizarre comic book blessing, given that Archie vs. Predator continues with the many bold and awesome decisions and books being made over at Archie Comics these days.
While de Campi’s script certainly flexes it ’80s action star-sized “muscles,” the art team of Ruiz, Koslowski, and Millet are the ones that don’t have time for bleeds. (Actually, they probably do have time for bleeds, because I imagine that is the sort of thing required by the publisher. I just really wanted to throw in that pun.) In all seriousness, the art team delivers in spades, flawlessly merging the worlds of Archie and The Predator without doing a disservice to either “world.” It’s such a seamless blending that one almost feels that the Predator has always been a part of the Archie world, but was merely hanging in the wings, waiting for his introduction . . . like Kevin Keller!
FINAL VERDICT: In all honesty, Archie vs. Predator is every bit as out of this world and fun as one would imagine it would be. In the style of books like Archie Meets the Punisher, de Campi’s Archie vs. Predator is sure to go down in pop culture lore as one of the most bizarre, crazy, and enjoyable crossovers to hit comic book stands. Whether you’re an Archie fan, a Predator fan, a comic book fan, or (hopefully) all three, this book is sure to please! And, if that’s not enough to convince you to add this four-issue miniseries to your pull list, then let me tease you with the fact that Archie vs. Predator also includes an awesome Sabrina Meets Hellboy crossover comic short in the back pages, as well. What more could you ask for, my fellow comic book sniffers?
You can find out more about Archie vs. Predator by visiting the Dark Horse Comics website. The first issue drops on April 15th, 2015!
That’s all for now, comic book sniffers. Now, get to the choppa!
‘Till the end of the world,
-Bryant the Comic Book Slayer