Welcome to my review of volume 3 of the Predator Omnibus line. The previous two omnibuses have both scored 3/5 and I’ve noticed both how amazing the Predator stories are and just how poor the artwork tends to be. Here we’ll be taking a look at the numerous comics that make up the third volume. Let’s see if it continues the typical features of the earlier Predator comics or if this one finally manages to break the mold.
The New Jersey Pine Barrens have become a slaughterhouse, witness to a hideous spree of murders and mutilations. Ex-CIA operative John Pulnick is accused of the gruesome crimes, but he knows the true identity of the slayer: a creature from another world — a predator. Unlike others of its species, however, this alien intruder is no sport hunter, but a blood-crazed psychotic; a butcher of its own kind; an unhinged killing machine. While a massive manhunt sweeps the Barrens, a stalker of a different kind searches for the killer — a second predator, bent on bringing down the rogue monster.
We all love a bit of predator-on-predator action. Bad Blood is all about same-on-same. The theme of brethren infighting is at the core of this infamous comic. The most obvious would be the notion of the bad blood predator being hunted down by its fellow intergalactic hunting brother, and this is where the main attraction of Bad Blood lies.
The comics and novels have always been the source of information and wonder for the online predator community (the Perry’s novel Prey being one of the sources from which online fanbase find most of their information regarding predator culture).
While the predator-on-predator action is the aspect that is normally dwelt on when people talk about Bad Blood, it carries the theme of brethren fighting further than just the predator culture. A lot of character focus is given to the conflict between human characters John Pulnick and Claude Loudermilk as well (ridiculous names, I know).
In fact, besides a few brutal pages of predator vs predator conflict, the idea of fighting your brother is most used in the conflict between those two characters (old friends). Barely any attention is actually given to the predator. There are noticeable differences in the personalities between the two creatures though, which serves to emphasize how the bad blood is different to the “normal” predators. In hindsight, I find it really weird how Predator fans can even talk about the bad bloods. There just isn’t much in this comic that expands on the whole mythos of the predators themselves, other than the fact they sometimes hunt each other down.
Typically, for a Predator comic, the artwork is another downfall. The confusingly drawn fights take what should have been jaw-droppingly awesome predator-on-predator scraps into blurs of unorganized and narrativeless pages of smudged colours.
The same goes for the characters. The lack of variety in any of the illustration caused me to wonder how so-and-so was still alive when he just died several pages back, or simply to wonder who in the hell I was following now.
So here we are with another Predator comic with an interesting story and shoddy artwork. However, to make matters even worse, the story-telling aspect of the comic isn’t even explored that deeply, all of which makes for a highly disappointing read.
Fleener Creek is a sleepy old Oregon town, the kind that makes you think of Andy and Barney and Aunt Bee. But sleepy towns aren’t always dreamy. Sometimes sleep brings on nightmares, the kind that begin and end with an eight-foot-tall monster wielding spears and knives. Fleener Creek may be sleepy, but most folks in this town won’t sleep soundly again. And others will never wake up.
Despite being the second book in the Omnibus it was actually the last I read. Why? Because I was flicking through and I noticed the extremely hideous artwork. It was just pages full of muddy bland colours. And a lack of variety in said muddy bland colours.
The characters on the other hand…It gives a lot of attention towards how death effects people in different ways. It’s all quite interesting. We have psychos, a person who witnessed the death of his father, and a police chief. All of their reactions different. In some ways it is a nice character study.
But it was just such an ugly comic. It was hard to keep interested when my eyes were being assaulted like that. Not another strong entry for this volume.
Hell and Hot Water
Two days ago, the crew of a Chilean fishing vessel saw something fall from the sky – a vision that at times took on material definition and flickered with an electricity of its own. Captain Cromartie has a pretty good idea what’s down in those cold waters – he’s pretty sure he’s fishing for predators. But knowing what you’re fishing for and knowing how to catch it are two totally different things.
Hell and Hot Water is one of those rare gems. I loved it when I first brought and read the TPB (trade paperback) and I love it still. The water colours that this comic makes use of are so appropriate and wonderful to look at. However, there is, at times, confusion as to the narrative between the panels (not often, but enough to warrent mention). Despite this, Hell and Hot Water is my favorite Predator comic when it comes down to the visuals.
As far as the story goes, it’s also among the most unique. It places the predator in an environment alien both to itself and to the human characters out to capture it. This series is just begging for a novel adaptation. Easily the star of this volume.
There’s a legend down in Bayou Lafourche of a man turned into a monster. Well, legends aren’t always fiction, and monsters aren’t always horrible, but something’s got to account for the bodies being pulled out of that swamp. And that something’s got nothing to do with voodoo.
I don’t quite know what to think of Strange Roux. It’s certainly very…well, strange. The opening pages set up the conclusion to make perfect sense and to not seem so sudden but it’s all just so…out there. The artwork is quite colourful, a typical comic look to it. Not the best but nowhere near the worst. I truly don’t know what to think of the story though. It started out like your bog-standard predator comic but ended so weirdly. It’s not one I’ll be re-reading but…I’ll leave this one up to you.
No Beast So Fierce
Now I get the feeling this short is a sequel to another Predator comic but I can’t be entirely sure. This is a beautifully drawn black-and-white short which follows a group of hunters out to vanquish a lion in revenge for a kill it once made. Ultimately they run into another hunter. This one just happens to be from a completely different neighborhood. Like pretty much all other black-and-white shorts included in the omnibuses so far, No Beast So Fierce boasts amazing detail and very clear action.
Bump In the Night
Ending the third omnibus is another black-and-white short, this one following a little adventure undertaken by three young friends to see a crashed UFO in a nearby swap. As you may have read, I truly despised Invaders From The Fourth Dimension (another Predator comic which utilizes youngsters for a lead), but thankfully Bump in the Night avoids all of the traps Invaders fell into. For one, the characters aren’t annoying, and it also doesn’t have the kids actually trying to fight the Predator. In fact, Bump In The Night provides a highly entertaining read with artwork very reminiscent of Japanese manga.
So what did I think? I think this fell into the same trappings as the last two volumes but only had one series and two shorts to redeem itself even slightly. I’m incredibly disappointed with the Predator series. I really hope for improvement with the new series. It pains me to do this but from Hicks, here at AvPGalaxy, I give (I can’t bring myself to say award) the third Predator volume a 2.5 out of 5.