Predator: Life and Death #1 (of 4)
Written by Dan Abnett (@)
Illustrated by Brian Thies
Colors by Rain Baredo
Cover art by David Palumbo
Review by Jamie Groovement
‘We tracking any large fauna, Singer?’
‘Nothing bigger than a raccoon, Captain.’
Weyland-Utani are the universe’s bad luck charm, so when Marine Corps Captain Paget hosts a rep onboard with the mission of clearing prospectors from a planet ‘of interest’ (future terraforming) to the company, you can’t blame her for being a bit standoffish. Her wariness proves well-founded when a gigantic, previously undetectable Engineer ship is found, together with a couple of not-so friendly face masks.
Rain Baredo’s colours tread a muted palette for most of the story, but jump off the page spectacularly when things get gory. Classic cool spaceship colours eventually progress to the browns, greens and reds of the jungle and those camouflaged within it. Similarly, Thies jumps out of the boxes for action sequences involving flying and ammo, adding sudden dynamism to what, up until that point, has been a talky and exposition-led narrative. His faces are full of character and the players distinctive, all important when you need to keep count of who’s still alive. His full page rendering of the downed ship is gorgeous with a strong use of painted forest elements to contrast with the drawn structure of it, and the Predators’ initial appearances are similarly lush-looking – a great case of both artists working in tandem pretty flawlessly.
Abnett captures the military corporation relationship of the films perfectly and paces the story steadily, the aforementioned exposition necessary and logical enough to enable us to speed towards planet-fall, slicey-dicey and what looks like an ambush for the marines… luckily, they’re more than thirsty for a fight.
As first parters go this does the job well, setting the scene for what will hopefully be a complete bloodbath in the issues to come. Abnett and co capture the mood of the films faithfully without being derivative, and lay down some interesting tidbits for future exploring. Good luck terraforming this one, Weyland-Utani.