Here we are with another in Dark Horse’s line of Omnibus releases. I realize I’m a little late with the review, what with it being released in Feburary 2008 but better late than never, ey? Lateness is something that should be associated with Predator fiction after all. But anyway, let’s get a crack on, shall we?
Corporal Enoch Nakai is a young American Indian with a bad past and an even worse present. Stationed in the American Southwest, he and his good buddy Dietl go on a recon patrol to investigate a small disturbance – but discover that the disturbance is anything but small! Try a seven-foot, bad-attitude extraterrestrial who’s armed to the teeth and lookin’ for trouble.
I’ll be entirely honest here. My expectations of Predator comics aren’t particularly high. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed the first volume but I don’t really expect too much so it makes me really happy when I’m pleasantly surprised.
Big Game is Predator. Through and through, this is a Predator comic. It’s action. It’s Indian folklore. Badass soldiers. Ruthless Predators. Government stupidity. You name it, Big Game’s got it. It was a really interesting comic. I found myself eager to keep going. My only complaint with the story is the fact that a predator picks up an M16 and uses it. Fair enough, the predator’s an inter-galactic hunter with spaceships and cool gizmo’s and whatnot, it probably does have the cognitive capacity and an IQ more than sufficient enough to use a primitive weapon like ours, but it just seems somewhat strange.
It’s a particular dirtily drawn comic which plays heavily on the gore and violence. I loved just how gritty the artwork was, which added to the comic. It all made for a really enjoyable Predator comic that I think every Predator fan would enjoy.
There’s not much to say about God’s Truth. It’s one of the expected shorts present in all of the current Omnibus’. God’s Truth is a story told by a Granddad to his Grandson. He was hunting down an escaped convict when his team and the convict ran into a predator. The Grandfather is the only survivor of that meeting and he is just recounting his close encounter. It’s an amazingly drawn, black and white short which highlights just how flexible the Predator franchise is with its stories and the times they can be set in.
From the Arctic Circle to the equatorial jungles — from the most isolated wilderness to the overpopulated city — any place can be a hunting ground. It all depends on your choice of game. For a predator, that game is man, so he heads to the grounds with the biggest trophies: the Paloverde State Penitentiary. They say that when you kill a killer, all his kills belong to you, and predator’s looking to rack up the big numbers.
Race War makes up the bulk of this Omnibus and it’s quite a good ride. Now my main issue with this comic is the inconsistency of the artwork. It starts off very nicely drawn, with some amazing details and excellent colouring, but towards the end it just gets lazy and bland, especially towards the last section in the prison. There isn’t a lot of variety in the colours and it just gives off the impression that the artist gave up.
It’s a real shame, given that the early renditions of the predator in the comic are among the best I’ve ever seen, and there’s one section (the backstory of the case) which has the most atmospheric and moody artwork of any Predator comic. The degradation of quality is a real shame when it had the potential to be one of the best.
The narrative spirals out of control too. It starts off really promising, with the offer of interesting development of the predator and the humans who hunt it, but instead what we get is a mangle of ideas that loses cohesion somewhere along the line.
And let us not forget the awfully drawn and conceived final conflict between our heroes and the predator in the prison, because…well, it’s just that: awful. It started out so well. Great potential with great artwork that just degraded into mediocrity. Failure for Race War.
The Hunted City
This is a “three part” short which follows a newspaper journalist/photographer, Max, as he investigates a number of ruthless murders in 1949’s gangster infested New York city. As expected, they’re all the result of a predator’s hunt. So we end up with the Feds using Max as bait to draw out the predator because it’s attracted to his political power. I know…it doesn’t sound that interesting, and it isn’t.
The story is boring and sometimes made little sense, especially in the closing climax with the Predator. The artwork looks very amateurish and uses a plentiful palette of plain and dull colours, all of which enhance the decided feeling of a pathetic read. Pointless on the brain. Ugly on the eyes. Such a lovely combination. Not one you wanna seek outside of the Omnibus.
Blood On Two-Witch Mesa
Blood on Two-Witch Mesa picks up where Big Game left off, with Enoch dealing with the effects of his conflict with the predator, and it’s not good. His life is slowly going down the pan, his health degrading. Things just aren’t well. But his Grandfather fills him in on an event from the past. Something his Father told him, about a beast like the one Enoch fought. This sequel to Big Game is a perfect example of a typical Predator comic. Awesome and interesting story bogged down by awful artwork. It really is a shame. But then again, it’s probably why the new novels rock so much.
Invaders From The Fourth Dimension
It’s 1959, and Hollywood is spewing out dozens of grade-Z alien invasion movies. But what happens when a real invader from outer space shows up in the back lot of a movie studio? A predator lands in Hollywood when he’s hunting for some new talent, and the only roles these actors are getting are dead-end parts! With the aid of special glasses, 11-year-old Tommy Anderson is the only one who can see the predator. But can this over-imaginative boy convince adults that there’s really a murderous monster stalking him? It’s mayhem at the drive-in when a predator comes a-huntin’!
Now Deadliest of the Species has the fan label of being the worse Aliens/Predator comic ever published. I wouldn’t know. I haven’t been able to finish reading it. I did, however, have the misfortune of finishing Invaders from the Fourth Dimension. It definitely deserves a nomination for the title.
I love the old Sci-Fi. I love that cheesy feeling that comes when the aliens show up and I love listening to all those crazy-coined scientific terms. But mixed in with Predator? You’ve got a recipe for cringing and extreme disappointment. It feels exactly like the writer intended. It feels like a classic Sci-Fi B-movie, but this isn’t funny, entertaining or smart. It is simply ridiculous.
If you’ve read my review of the first Predator Omnibus you may have noticed that I think stories are the strongest features of Predator comics. You can forget that with Invaders. The comic follows the escapades of a young boy who steals a couple of the predator’s “stun grenades”. The Predator then chases the lad, who manages to keep ahead of it with the help of a pair of these amazing “4D” glasses that let him see through the predator’s cloak. The kid even runs the big bad alien hunter over with a f**king Caddy! f**king atrocious!
On the bright side the art is kinda okay… still. Worst. Predator. Comic. Ever.
If I had to recommend a Predator fan a comic to read it would be 1718. This is a comic I’ve been meaning to get my hands on for some time now. Most people should know if it even if they haven’t read it. 1718 tells the story of the pistol in Predator 2.
In terms of art, it’s very unique for a Predator comic. The artist, Igor Kordey, uses a lot of vibrant pastoral colours to give 1718 its own unique style. You would think that choice of colouring would seem unusual in a Predator comic but I found that it just enhanced the feel of being among eighteenth century pirates. I found myself immersed in the comic (something that has never happened to me when reading a Predator comic before). Let us not forget the fact that this predator, in particular, is one of the best drawn and well coloured I have ever seen!
My only complaint is the length. All said and done, 1718 is a one-off short but it feels like it should have been much longer. The opening pages are just too rushed. It feels like the writer has this huge and amazing story to tell but wasn’t given the page space; the story is just sprinting to the finish line.
So here we are in the same dilemma as with the first Omnibus. We have some fantastic installments mixed in with some truly awful excuses for a Predator comic. It once again goes to emphasize my belief in just how versatile the Predator franchise is. The stories are truly the strong part of the Predator expanded universe and it shows in these comics, just as it shows in the new novels. I can only hope that the new comic line makes an effort to bring in a fantastic visual style to them. From Hicks at AvPGalaxy, I award this Omnibus with a 3 out of 5.