Review – Predator: Hunters II #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Warner
Artist: Agustin Padilla
Colours: Neeraj Menon
Lettering: Michael Heisler
Release Date: 8th August 2018

Following its well-received first series, Dark Horse’s Predator: Hunters is back with a bang this week, once again focusing on the exploits of the international group of criminals, mercenaries and ex-CIA who travel the globe trying to track down and eradicate any Predator activity.  Or rather, what’s left of them.

Y’see, things didn’t go particularly well in the first series, with the mission to Amelia Island ending in betrayal, bloodshed, cowardice and recriminations, which is perhaps what makes this new story quite so interesting.

The appeal of the first arc was the way it brought together a variety of different leads from other Dark Horse Predator books into a single unit, and this latest story builds on that impressively as the fractured and depleted unit prepares to head out to Afghanistan to tackle a particularly nasty Pred.

It’s perhaps not quite essential to have read the first series prior to this one, but there is a significant amount of character development along the way that plays rather well into this new story. The characters themselves are all fairly straightforward action movie fare, but writer Chris Warner is clearly having fun with the dialogue, and some of the interactions – especially in the wake of the first arc’s somewhat disastrous outcome – are suitably tense.

Artist Agustin Padilla does a tremendous job on the visual side of the book, delivering some scratchy, kinetic action panels as the Predator cuts a swath through the insurgents during the opening of the issue.  The characters are suitably expressive, and there’s a distinctly cinematic approach to his layouts that obviously works rather well with this franchise. Neeraj Menon does a great job on the colours, keeping things impressively clean and crisp throughout — particularly the outdoor scenes in Afghanistan.

Let’s be honest, the story is something we’ve all read countless times before, but both Warner and Padilla do a terrific job with the execution, ensuring that this first issue ends up feeling fresher than it perhaps deserves to.  The Predator-centric scenes which bookend the issue keep the energy levels up, and there’s some interesting storyline tidbits dropped in along the way that are definitely worth keeping an eye on as the series unfolds.

Okay, so it isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but Predator: Hunters II does exactly what it needs to.  If you enjoyed the first series you’ll absolutely love this one, and it’s a lot of fun to watch Warner, Padilla and Menon working cohesively together to provide another solid entry into Dark Horse’s rich Predator history.

Rating: 4/5.


ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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