Set a few weeks after the climax of Robert Rodriguez’s Predators film, the remaining survivors still struggle to find some existence on the alien planet where they are hunted. Hope of outlasting the alien hunters still lives; they have a plan to get away, and they just might be able to pull it off!
As Preserve the Game is a sequel to Predators, this review will contain spoilers for Predators.
It has taken me a while to get around to writing this review because I’m not sure how to take it. On one hand there’s this interesting potential in the comic and on the other hand, there’s some plain stupid stuff in it.
Preserve the Game is written by David Lapham who wrote the secondary story, A Predatory Life, in the prequel series. I loved A Predatory Life. Lapham had nailed Royce. When I went into see the film, everything I had learnt in the prequel resonated with what I saw on screen. I had a deeper understanding of Royce and it all made sense.
With Preserve the Game, I’m not so sure. Predators ended with Royce having grown, having gone back for Issabelle. Preserve the Game opens with Royce on his own again, having abandoned her. It makes the growth Royce went through null and void. But then…Royce goes through the same character arc, again. He then progresses to have doubts about his decision to return for Isabelle (in the comic, not in the movie) and to whether he’s suited to this teamwork dynamic.
Why they didn’t start with this, I don’t know. It would have made for a much better continuation of the characters and their situation and it would have been a lot more convincing than what we got.
The story of the comic centres around how the Predators are almost training Royce. Seems he tweaked some interest when he took out the Berserker. The Predators continue to drop down various alien prey and force Royce to kill them. Eventually a Predator shows up and drops off some armor made specifically for Royce.
Now this bit I could handle. It’s Predator constructed armor and gear made just for Royce for this upcoming battle he doesn’t know of yet. They even provide him a mask which is programmed in English which isn’t much of a stretch seeing as how they’ve demonstrated they’re capable of understanding it.
What I truly hate is what the gear is to aid him against. A four armed Predator. No, I’m not joking. Not in the slightest. A random unmasked four armed Predator is dropped onto the planet for Royce to fight. It looks like a Kenner figure. In fact, there’s an unproduced four armed Predator figure floating around the internet.
They offer no reason as to why it’s four armed. Is it a mutant? I don’t know, it isn’t explained. Considering that every Predator in all the movies have been been standard humanoid shapes with only two arms, it was a bit too left field for me. Maybe if they’d have at least offered some explanation I’d have been a bit more willing to accept it.
Considering Preserve the Game is a sequel to Predators, you might expect some continuation of aspects set up in Predators. Specifically the different Predators. Other than Four Armed Predator, we see only one other Predator. They don’t specific which ones belong to which clan or if they’re even different. They just are. It fails completely on furthering anything new for the Predator.
The artwork, as provided by Allan Jefferson and Michelle Madsen, isn’t particularly bad but it’s not amazing either. The likeness to the actors is there but it’s not as good as A Predator Life either. The art is very bland and uninspiring. It’s just mediocre. And Sean Phillip’s cover was confusing when it was released. Why the cover would feature the Berserker Predator when it has no appearance in the comic, I don’t know.
Preserve the Game was just a disappointment all around. Lapham rehashed Royce’s character arc before moving it forward, there was no expansion of the Predator conflicts set up in the movie and the four armed Predator…That was just a deal breaker. It’s not the worse comic out there, but it just reeks of the stereotypical disappointment that comes with tie-ins. Over all it was just a bitter disappointment.