Following in the hugely successful footsteps of their shared universe “Fire and Stone” event of late 2014 and early 2015, Dark Horse Comics are set to make their return to the world of Aliens, Predator and Prometheus in 2016.
Up first, and set for release next month, is PREDATOR: LIFE AND DEATH, a four-part mini series written by Dan Abnett and featuring artwork from Brian Thies. To say we were huge fans of “Fire and Stone” here at the Big Comic Page would be a massive understatement, something a brief look at our exhaustive review and interview hub for the event will confirm, so we were absolutely thrilled to be able to sit down and have a chat with Dan about just what we should expect from the series.
Oh, but that’s not all. Because while we’re focusing mainly on the Predator series here, Abnett will actually be writing all four series in this event, including the upcoming Prometheus one, and we’re honoured to be able to give you a world-exclusive look at the cover for the first issue! Feast your eyes on Dave Palumbo’s typically awesome work below.
Pretty great, right? Look out for the official announcement about the series from Dark Horse in the very near future, but for the time being, here’s how the conversation went with the supremely talented Mister Abnett.
Big Comic Page: Thanks so much for your time, Dan. To kick things off, can you give us a brief summary of what PREDATOR: LIFE AND DEATH is all about?
DAN ABNETT: It’s a head-on clash between the Colonial Marines of the Alien universe and the Predators… with a little added “Prometheus” mystery blended in. Though AVP has established a close tie between the universes of Predator and Alien, this is essentially a deeper exploration of the way the three ‘franchises’ intersect. It’s big action, strong characters and as true as I can make it to the spirit, tone and style of all of the movie sources.
BCP: How did your involvement in the series come about? Was writing this one an opportunity you actively sought out, or was it one that was offered to you?
DA: I found myself in the wonderful position of being asked to do it by Dark Horse.
BCP: Tell us about the Colonial Marines – is there anyone we should be looking out for in particular?
DA: They are new characters, a new unit, but we’ve tried to create strong, identifiable and relatable characters… the Captain, Paget, is a very canny leader and she’s got great experience. Her second in command, Sergeant Roth, is cool, level-headed and loyal guy. Then there are other troopers, the hot-tempered Freebody with her smartgun, the practical Ancane… I’m hoping this set of people is quickly going to become one the readers care about.
BCP: What kind of tone are you going for with the series? Is this going to be a tense survival horror or more of an all-out action-packed affair?
DA: With Marines and Predators, it’s going to be action packed, but there’s a lot of tense, claustrophobic horror as well as deep, chilling, grand-scale cosmic mystery.
BCP: How much freedom have been given with this one, given the licensed nature of the property? Is there anything you wanted to do but couldn’t?
DA: Not so far! I’ve been as respectful as possible to the source material so as not to break any toys, but the freedom I’ve had in the story is great. It’s a proper epic, a big budget movie in comic form!
BCP: Is there any specific prior knowledge required by the reader before they pick this one up?
DA: No… I hope I’ve explained everything in context as we go. The funny thing about both Alien and Predator stories is that they work best when the characters caught up in them now very little about what they’re dealing with. Often, a reader who’s seen the movies knows more than the characters! Obviously, if you know and love the movies, or have read Dark Horse’s comics before, it will add to the fun, but you don’t NEED to know anything.
BCP: Dark Horse’s press release mentioned this being the first chapter in a story cycle. Are you able to tell us a little about that? Is this set to be equivalent of 2014’s Fire and Stone event, with several interconnected mini-series?
DA: That’s the idea. A sequence of mini series that moves the overall story along in big dramatic steps, carrying characters along and switching the main focus between the major franchises and their distinctive horrors.
BCP: Tell us about the work of artist Brian Thies – how have you found his work, and what has the collaboration process between the pair of you been like?
DA: Brian is great, and his work is perfect for this story. Great on creating the characters, great on location and wonderful at capturing the details of the tech, hardware and… organisms.
BCP: Predators, Aliens, Marines, Engineers. Four-way death match. Who wins, and why?
DA: Well, it’s not going to be a happy ending, is it? Things can get pretty bleak, especially in the Alien universe. But maybe grit and determination will see some ‘victor’ walking away…
BCP: And finally, if you could say one thing to any readers out there who were unsure about picking this one up to help convince them, what would it be?
DA: This just might be the movie you’ve been waiting to see … ;)
PREDATOR: LIFE AND DEATH #1 goes on sale March 2nd, and keep your eyes glued to the Big Comic Page for an advance review in the next few days. Trust us, you are not going to want to miss this one, folks.