Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Thies
Release Date: 3rd March, 2016
After the monumental success that was Fire and Stone, it was surely only a matter of time before Dark Horse Comics returned to their shared universe of Alien, Predator and Prometheus. Well, enter writer Dan Abnett, who is set to pen no less than four interconnected series under the “Life and Death” banner in the coming months, the first of which is set to hit shelves in early March.
Predator: Life and Death sees group of Colonial Marines on assignment to LV-797, a planet set to be terraformed by Weyland-Yutani. Their mission, to ensure that no unlicensed prospectors are stripping away the planet’s vital assets before the terraforming begins. Everything goes fairly smoothly as they touch down and begin their search, until – of course – it doesn’t, with things falling apart in rapid fashion following the discovery of a distinctive U-shaped spaceship. Yeah, you know the one.
Admittedly, this first issue contains a lot of set-up as Abnett takes his time introducing us to Captain Paget and her squadron of Marines, as well as giving us a brief summary of their mission and the dynamic between them and their W-Y shipmate. Thankfully, he also manages to throw some intriguing characters into the mix, Paget in particular, which keeps things entertaining enough, even if there’s always that faint, nagging, “slasher movie” feeling that around 95% of them are about to become mutilated corpses sooner rather than later.
Each of the four “Life and Death” titles are going to have a different artist working alongside Abnett, and up first we have Brian Thies who delivers a strong, cinematic style for this first issue. He has a measured, tidy approach which works well with the scenes on the sterile spaceship, but which doesn’t quite gel in the desolate jungles of LV-797. He does get a couple of opportunities to really cut loose however, particularly in the latter pages of the book, and he does so with gusto, providing a truly frantic, frenzied exchange as the issue comes to an end.
As an opening chapter, Predator: Life and Death does a solid job of establishing the larger world before digging its hooks in emphatically during the final few pages. While it isn’t necessarily tipping its hand too early about the larger story, it’s clear that Abnett absolutely ‘gets’ the world he’s playing in, providing an authentic Predator experience without things ever feeling too derivative. A somewhat restrained start then, but given Dark Horse’s track record with these particular franchises, you can most definitely count me in for the rest of this event.
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If you want to find out more about Predator: Life and Death, make sure to check out our interview with series writer Dan Abnett by CLICKING HERE.