Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brisson
Artwork: Kev Walker
Colours: Frank D’Armata
Lettering: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Release Date: 2nd November 2022
A cracking comic that I’ve inexplicably not managed to review a single issue of yet, Ed Brisson and Kev Walker’s Predator series has thus far introduced us to Theta, a woman whose entire family was wiped out by a Predator when she was just a child, and who now hunts them across the galaxy, trying to find the one who took everyone away from her.
Theta’s quest has led to her crash landing her ship on the frozen planet of Tusket, where her search for supplies saw her stumbling upon an abandoned Astar Industries outpost where the scientists had been slaughtered and hung up like meat. Not only that, but a Predator was lying in wait for her, seemingly trying to exact a little vengeance of his own for his slaughtered kin – all twenty-three of them – that Theta has dispatched over the past fifteen years.
After dispatching it in typical Theta fashion, she discovers that the Predators have been tracking her just as much as she’s been tracking them. And, while carrying out some repairs to her ship and indulging in some of the leftover alcohol she found at the outpost, she quickly realises the true severity of her situation when not one but two Predator ships show up looking to eradicate her once and for all.
Brisson is a writer who always manages to inject a little extra flair into his stories, and that’s certainly the case here. In Theta, he has crafted a relatable, capable and surprisingly well-rounded protagonist, and watching her her relentless thirst for vengeance bumping up against her crippling loneliness and vulnerability makes for a fascinating read. The back-and-forth banter between Theta and Sandy, her onboard computer and only real “family”, also helps build sympathy and investment in the character, and the moment earlier in the series where she thought she had lost them forever was genuinely moving.
There are some great wrinkles to the story, such as Theta reverse-engineering the Predators’ tech to help identify their hunting routes, and the puzzling nature of not one but two Pred ships showing up when the species historically only ever hunts alone. Also, the prospect of fighting a Predator while drunk, albeit in a souped-up Pred suit of your very own, is certainly an intriguing situation to watch unfold here.
On the visual side of things, Walker does a stellar job throughout, bringing the action to the page with a real dynamism, and packing Theta with a ton of expression and emotion throughout the course of the first four issues. He also draws a mean Predator, which sounds like it should be an obvious skill for an artist working on this property, but seeing some of the versions that have crept their way onto the shelves over the years, is far from a foregone conclusion.
The bulk of this latest issue is comprised of yet another gorgeously illustrated one-on-one battle, which gives Walker, alongside colourist Frank D’Armata, ample opportunity to flex their artistic muscle to ensure we feel every bone-crunching impact along the way. The final pages throw a new wrinkle into the mix, and I’m genuinely curious to see how things turn out for a leading lady I’ve become surprisingly invested in.
The Predator franchise has been tweaked and adapted so many times over the years that it’s honestly difficult to do much that feels fresh at this point. However, while there are obviously some familiar tropes at play here, Brisson, Walker and the team do a fantastic job of injecting this series with an authenticity and enthusiasm that keeps the pages turning and the reader engrossed from start to finish. Highly recommended.
[PREVIEW ARTWORK – CLICK TO ENLARGE]