Writer: Dan Abnett Pencils: Brian Albert Thies Colors: Rain Beredo Letters: Michael Heisler Cover: David Palumbo Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Predator: Life and Death is a four issue mini-series which is a follow up to last years “Fire and Stone” event, where Dark Horse combined the Predator and Alien franchises.
Does this sound familiar to you? A squad of marines are sent to a remote but colonized planet after receiving a distress signal. Not all seems well as they arrive to what seems as a ghost town. After searching they stumble upon a loan survivor who does not seem mentally well and is suffering from PTSD. We get the cliched line of “you shouldn’t have come here”, and the marines don’t believe him or think he’s overreacting and delusional. A group of the soldiers, who’s names you can’t remember wonder off and are cut down by a creature who at first is hidden in the shadows until the final one meets his fate.
If that sounds fun and exciting to you then you’ll love this comic. If that sounds recycled and stale then you’ll hate this comic. Unfortunately for me, I am in the latter camp.
This comic takes a plot that has been repeated so many times that you can predict everything that’s going to happen within the first few pages. I would’ve given it a pass had it done one of two things, bring something new to the table, given me fun and memorable characters to follow along with, or a combination of both. This comic does neither, it’s just your typical paint by the numbers story and the dialogue is just as cliched and predictable as the plot. The only credit I can give it is it’s at least paced well and easy to follow.
While the first two Alien movies and first Predator movie has its far share of stereotypes and cliches in them, they at least came out when this stuff was new. These were some of the early franchises to popularize this formula. The characters in these movies were on the stereotype side yes but at least they were memorable. Even in the bad Alien movies like 3 and 4, Resurrection I remembered those characters. In this, I couldn’t tell you a single characteristic or even name of any of these guys that you might as well refer to them as Cannon Fodder A, Cannon Fodder B, Cannon Fodder C, and so on and so on. That was one of my many problems with Prometheus as well.
The artwork is nothing to write home about and is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of quality. While the issue only has two set scenes, the art is able to capture the mood and tone of them. The spaceship transporting the soldiers feels cold and bleak while the jungle captures the element of mystery and fear of the unknown vibe it calls for. However the art seems to get lazy as it goes on as characters and objects are less detailed towards the latter half. Nowhere is this more evident than with the background.
Predator: Life and Death #1 is as recycled as they come, the plot is on such a repeated formula that it becomes stale and predictable. The characters are such blank and forgettable slates that you can’t even give them the distinction of stereotypes. If you don’t mind reading the same story over and over, don’t care for interesting characters, don’t want to be challenged, and just hoping to see some soldiers used as cannon fodder then you’ll like this comic. As for me, I want my $3.99 back.
Score: 0.5 out of 5
Review by Eric Bradach