Predator provides sci-fi and horror fans a franchise best characterized as serviceable. It is readily available to play the hits; every film prior to 2022 provided severely diminishing returns on the original, but a handful of Dark Horse (and DC and 2000 A.D.) comics amidst multimedia adaptations presented striking imagery and charming adventure tales. The arrival of Predator at Marvel Comics comes with low expectations, especially given the turgid sister series that is Alien, and more than exceeds them in a debut that emphasizes its originality. Alongside the release Prey, the newest Predator series seems poised to overhaul the franchise's image with continuations that build on the killer imagery, gory tropes, and diverse potential setting with new perspectives.
The story of Predator #1 introduces readers to Theta whose parents were slaughtered by a Predator when she was young leading her to hunt the hunters in turn. It's a familiar concept for the franchise with Theta garbed in Predator's armor, using their weapons, and adopting some of their habits, but struggling to remain human. Yet the interwoven narratives of her past and present provide the character with more depth than a typical hyper-violent and hyper-capable excuse to see some Predators. Her attachment to her ship Sandy and desperate quest reveal flaws and sympathies that, combined with a well executed cliffhanger, make readers want to see what happens next to Theta, in addition to whatever bloody Predator action is on display.
Kev Walker does an admirable job delivering that action, and all of its surrounding drama in these pages. He wisely avoids the detailed realism relished in Alien for a style capable of some abstraction. The opening sequence displays this with lots of silhouettes and bold sweeps of action showcasing a sensibility evoking Mignola's striking Dark Horse Predator covers. This introduction is one of the issues best moments, but any bit of action in which Walker allows shadows to creep high teases the best visual cues associated with Predator and its comics history. Walker's more standard approach to a majority of panels makes these moments more striking while a world weary normality creeps into mundane moments and some of the action.
Predator #1 is a comic with one job: Showcase the cool looking aliens who murder human beings for sport. It succeeds in this regard and does so with some stylistic flair at points. This would be adequate and some readers might return. Predator #1 does that job in a way where readers are far more concerned about a human being named Theta handling very non-Predator problems by its final page, and that is quite the impressive trick. Her story is bound to create lots more impressive action sequences and display an abundance of colorful settings; Walker seems a great fit to make that sci-fi showcase impressive. Theta's story promises to make those images worthwhile by adding another compelling, new perspective to the franchise.
Published by Marvel Comics
On August 10, 2022
Written by Ed Brisson
Art by Kev Walker
Colors by Frank D'Armata
Letters by Clayton Cowles
Cover by Leinil Francis Yu and Sunny Gho