Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Review - Predator: Hunters #1 (@DarkHorseComics)


Aliens are out there. Right now they're not really bothering us, but if/when they arrive on Earth it could be something we have to contend with. One of the most prolific aliens in media is the Predator and the character has made a name for itself by terrorizing other civilizations. The tables are turned in Predator: Hunters #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Chris Warner, illustrated by Francisco Ruiz Velasco and lettered by Michael Heisler.

Space aliens have been coming to Earth for centuries—but not with any message of brotherhood or peace. They’re here to hunt the toughest, most dangerous humans they can find. Only now their former prey have teamed up against them. Predators, watch your backs!

Warner is eager to subvert the norm when it comes to the Predators in Predator: Hunters #1. The typical Predator story involves them hunting and eviscerating any humans in their paths so it's refreshing to see this approach where the humans are hunting the Predators. And Warner isn't shy about explaining that approach to the reader as most of the dialogue exchanges are between the members of the newly formed hunting party. Many first issues fall into an expository trap and while Predator: Hunters #1 does to an extent, Warner lessens the blow by having each member of the hunting party briefly recap their past experience with the Predators. Funneling the narrative through Enoch Nakai is a nice throwback to the history of the franchise as well, seeing as how Enoch was featured in Predator: Big Game from years ago.

The artwork by Velasco is marvelous in its simplicity. The Predator has always had a fierce appearance that Velasco nails in Predator: Hunters #1 by emphasizing its feral nature that's evidenced by how elegantly it eviscerates its opponents. The human characters are a lot cleaner (obviously), yet Velasco doesn't shy away from giving them somewhat stereotypical looks befitting of a team of Predator hunters. Velasco illustrates everyone else with sharp and bold lines that give the humans some visual weight when going up against the more beastly Predator. And the backgrounds (jungle locales especially) are given just enough detail that the reader feels as if they're being hunted by the Predator alongside the humans.

Predator: Hunters #1 takes a new approach in terms of how it handles the Predator and its typical human prey. The team of hunters who has formed is hellbent on tracking and killing predators if for nothing else to get revenge for everyone they've lost to them. Warner's approach breathes fresh air into the property and adds an air of uncertainty about the outcome for all the players involved. Velasco's illustrations are fantastic and beautifully capture the snarling and visceral nature of the Predator characters. Predator: Hunters #1 is definitely a set-up issue, but the payoff at the end could be much different than readers have typically expected from a work involved Predators.

Predator: Hunters #1 is available now.

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