Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Thies
Release Date: 4th May, 2016
While there has definitely been no shortage of frantic action set pieces and testosterone-fuelled banter so far in Dark Horse’s Predator: Life and Death, there also hasn’t really been enough of a unique hook to really help the series stand out.
Unfortunately, that trend continues here for the most part as our band of expendable Marines regroup following their skirmish with the Predators, hatching a plan which essentially boils down to “let’s go kill ‘em!”. That said, while the themes and characters are undeniably familiar, there’s a certain enthusiasm to the execution of series that’s difficult not to appreciate.
Abnett does hint at a couple of potentially interesting diversions along the way – primarily Rucker’s guilt following the friendly fire incident that saw him inadvertently kill fellow Marine Lee – but sadly, this isn’t given enough time to fully resonate before we’re swept away on the next wave of “come get some!” chest-thumping.
Thankfully, artist Brian Thies really seems to have hit his stride in this issue, providing some graceful, dynamic Predator action along the way, particularly during the frantic closing pages. That said, in spite of several impressive visual moments, the overall artwork of the book – much like the story – is merely solid where it could potentially be spectacular. Perhaps the final issue will finally give Thies something to really get his teeth into, but for the time being, it just feels like we’ve seen it all before.
Overall then, while it’s always a pleasure to see the Predators in action, this series continues to barely tread water with its paint-by- numbers approach. The ominously looming Engineer spaceship provides the only hope at the moment that this will become anything other than yet another ‘Predator versus soldiers’ romp, and with this series serving as the opening chapter of a new seventeen-part event, I’d have hoped for much more of a hook by now.
At the same time, I have the utmost faith in both Dark Horse as a publisher and Dan Abnett as a writer, so whatever happens, I’m in this one for the long haul. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed that things pick up sooner rather than later, or this event could end up becoming a damp squib of epic proportions.
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.
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