Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Thies
Release Date: 1st June, 2016
After the Fire and Stone story run that Dark Horse released a couple years back, they’ve followed it up with a new story titled Life and Death, where each story arc will focus on a different species in the Alien/Predator/Prometheus universe. The particular issue that I’ll be talking about today is the concluding issue to the Predator: Life and Death story arc before the Prometheus: Life and Death arc takes over next week. So, do we get a satisfying Predator finale?
The finale issue to the Predator: Life and Death storyline picks up right where we left off with our gang of UNSC Space Marines on LV-797. Following directives from the Weyland-Yutani representative embedded with her platoon to take possession of the mysterious XT ship that they’ve found in the wilderness, Paget and her marines decide to split up to simultaneously fend off the Predators, while also trying to seize the XT ship once and for all.
The Predator: Life and Death storyline has been a tricky thing. It’s light entertainment, nothing special, but fun enough to stick with. I was looking forward to this final issue because I was excited to see this full-on battle for the spaceship. The thing that has worked the most with this storyline has been the moments where the Predators are present. The VERY MINOR Predator appearances we have in this issue are awesome, bloody, but very quick. Not only is the Predator action cool, the designs are creative and badass. Right when I thought you couldn’t do anything else with Predator designs, artist Brian Albert Thies proves me wrong. He presents readers with these awesome character designs that are completely wasted because the Predators are so absent in this series, particularly in this issue. For the finale to a Predator story arc, you would expect a large Predator presence, but there’s this annoying lack of Predator here, nonsensically so.
Before I get into more of my major problems with the issue, I want to praise Thies’ art beyond just the Predator designs. Thies not only gives us these creative designs, but he also creates an environment that I’d like to see given a better story. Sure, it’s just a space jungle, but this particular jungle has an atmosphere to it that I really like diving into, as well as a mystique to it that I’d like to see explored. It’s such a shame that it seems like we won’t be on LV-797 for much longer, because I do like it. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the way we leave certain characters in this issue suggest that we may return to LV-797, and if that’s the case then sign me up. The vehicle and weapon designs are also great, harkening back to the Aliens films while also expanding the technology in cool ways.
I think the major problem with issue #4 is that it’s just, well, boring. This may not be a finale to this comic universe as a whole, but as a finale to the Predator story arc, I would’ve liked a bit more of a climax. It’s just not that exciting. I didn’t feel like I got a satisfying amount of Predator action, or even just an ominous presence. Yeah they look cool, but they’re given nothing to do. Instead of having the big final assault that it seemed like we were getting, we have a lot of wandering around talking, which has been the biggest problem with all of the issues leading up to this. Whenever we hangout with the marines, the dialogue is bland and the characters are flat.
If you’ve stuck with the series so far, I guess check this out if you really feel like you need to, but you’re honestly not missing anything if you skip it. You get less Predator action and more boring dialogue and lame story. I don’t mind world building if it’s interesting, but it’s just not interesting here. This is easily the worst issue of Predator: Life and Death, which is a shame considering it’s the finale issue of that arc. If you want an interesting comic set in the Alien/Predator/Prometheus universe, go read Aliens: Defiance instead, where the characters are far more interesting and the story is far more engaging. The ending of this issue is supposed to get you excited for the next Life and Death story arc, but it just didn’t leave me with any of that excitement.
The issues leading up to this have been okay, but this is the first issue in this arc that has been flat-out bad, which isn’t something you want from your finale. There’s a long history of Predator comic books to delve into for interesting, rich storytelling if that’s what you’re looking for. As for Life and Death, skip it. You aren’t missing anything except disappointment.
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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The writer of this piece was: Mike Annerino
Mike Tweets from @MikeAnnerino