Predator: Life and Death #1 (Dark Horse)

Screen Shot 2016-03-06 at 9.39.17 AM

CREDIT: Dark Horse

Rating: 3.5/5 – Predators, Aliens, and Engineers, Oh My!
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

I quite enjoyed the Fire and Stone series of books that crossed over Twentieth Century Fox’s horror/sci-fi franchises in 2014 including Aliens, Predator and Prometheus. Although it didn’t answer a whole lot of questions in regards to those introduced in the movie Prometheus, it was an entertaining read that was tight in it’s narrative and editorial oversight over the course of multiple titles and one-shots. This all new storyline titled Life and Death begins with a different approach to the storytelling, but including the same cast of science fiction icons.

Where Fire and Stone included five different writers to contribute to the story, Life and Death is using just one, Dan Abnett. Abnett has told  plenty of science fiction stories in his many years of writing so I feel that he’s a great choice to take on an intertwining story like this.

This first issue is pretty straight forward and similar to the types of stories we’ve seen from these characters in the past. A group of USCM officers are hired by the Weyland-Yutani organization to investigate a planet that they have their eyes set on for future colonization, but seems to be in the process of being stripped of its assets by a rival corporation, Seegson. The marines are introduced through somewhat familiar methods like we’ve seen in the movies, but I was still interested in the characters and their motives and Abnett does a nice job of balancing their time on the page.

Where the story didn’t connect with me was in the art. The storytelling is solid by artist Brian Albert Thies, but his line work and the colors by Rain Beredo turned me off a bit. Thies’ line is quick, thin and almost wispy. I think I would appreciate this more if it wasn’t colored the way it was. Beredo’s colors feel as though they’re on top of one another instead of being part of the entire image. He chooses to go from a painted look to a more traditional style depending on the scene, and uses plenty of gradients in the backgrounds. It wasn’t enough to turn me away, but the art won’t be bringing be back for the rest of the series.

I appreciate the approach Dark Horse is taking by releasing a Predator series first, followed by the Aliens and Prometheus franchises to keep each story somewhat separate, while at the same time maintaining a consistency over the course of this story’s seventeen parts.  My confidence in Dan Abnett’s writing, my love for these franchises, and Dark Horse’s editorial approach to this multi-part story will keep me around to see how this story is going to turn out.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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