Story: Dan Abnett
Art: Brian Thies
Colors: Rain Beredo
What They Say:
Colonial Marines on the planet Tartarus battle extraterrestrial hunters over the possession of a mysterious horseshoe-shaped spaceship of unknown origin. The Weyland-Yutani rep wants the ship, and the marine captain wants to protect her crew. But neither objective is likely when a band of Predators attacks!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Having enjoyed the various Predator films for the most part and digging the original Aliens Vs Predator series oh so long ago, it’s been a rough ride since with a mixed bag of Predator stories. I rather enjoyed to some degree what we got last year with the various franchise combined event series that had the Predator interacting with others, but the larger scope of that series worked against it. With Predator: Life and Death, we get the start of a new four-part miniseries that gets back to its core while also tying into the larger universe in a good way. One of the best things for the Predator franchise was its being bonded to the Alien universe if only to bring some competent science fiction futurism to it with the Weyland-Yutani elements.
And that’s what gets things underway here as we’re introduced to a USCM combat ship being sent to LV-797, a world given the nickname of Tartarus by W-Y. It’s here that under their employee Lorimer that we learn that there’s a belief on the board’s part that the competition with Seegson has been mucking around on their claim there. Tartarus is slated to get its terraforming underway soon and resources and personnel are being sent there. So this ship is going in beforehand at W-Y’s request to ensure that their claim is being honored properly. This gives us a familiar stock of characters in the marine crew from the commander on down to the rank and file and it all works well. They’ve given solid simple personalities that we can latch onto in order to differentiate them, but I’ll admit that like previous books and Aliens based books, I don’t really dig into remembering their names much because they’re mostly going to be fodder in the end.
What this book does it does well in introducing all the elements, the corporate side of it in this remote location, and getting us down planetside where there’s some great movements in how the marines work and search for what’s going on. Mooneyham did a great job in last year’s event with his work and it’s a solid continuation here in bringing it to life without having to deal with non-Predator stuff. Similarly, Williamson nailed his work in that event as well and it feels even more precise and on point with how he handles the marines as they interact with each other and some of the colorful aspects of it. Paired together, these two give us that opening installment that sets the stage in the expected ways, new targets going to a world where Predator’s have raised some carnage already and are excited for me, and they do it with great skill and ease.
Predator: Life and Death hits all the right sweet spots for me with its debut. It works a familiar storyline to be sure, there’s no denying that, but it’s the setup that I think fans want. It’s clean and simple but it has the right layers to it with the corporate elements brought in combined with the marine side that made Aliens so much fun. It doesn’t feel like the world itself is going to be a huge factor, which is a nice change of pace from last year’s event, and instead it’s going to be the Predator’s themselves combined with a few twists that feels like they’re in the shadows ready to come out. Williamson’s script is sharp and focused, hitting all the right points, and Mooneyham simply excels in bringing this to life visually, both in the design work of characters and setting but also the layouts that makes for a smooth and engaging read. This is probably the most excited I’ve been for a Predator series in quite a few years.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: March 2nd, 2016