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'Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series 1989-1996' Review

Comic Books

‘Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series 1989-1996’ Review

This was not at all what I expected when I picked up this book.

I vaguely recall the Predator comics when I was a kid. I loved the original movie, so it was something I recognized, but for some reason it was never something I gravitated towards. Comics for me were all about the superheroes and mixing in extended universe stuff that the movies always ignored did not seem like my bag.

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Oh how wrong I was.

'Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series 1989-1996' Review
Predator – the 30th Anniversary edition.
Writer: Mark Verheiden
Artist: Chris Warner and Ron Randall
Publisher: Dark Horse

This collection brings together “Concrete Jungle” and some other stories from the original run of Predator comics (Predator: Concrete Jungle TP #1-4, Predator: Cold War TP #1-4 and Predator: Dark River TP). Although not as big a name maker for Dark Horse Comics as the Alien comics were, this particular series did have something extra interesting going for it in that it was the inspiration for Predator 2–a movie I think never gets enough credit.

Now, there are some differences. This comic reads like a Michel Bay wet dream, with massive firefights, huge destructive battles across New York City (and later the frozen tundra of Russia), and all of it starring Schaefer–the very big and very angry brother of Dutch–Arnold’s character from the original movie.

Dutch has been missing since the “incident,” and the subsequent government involvement in the ongoing Predator issues in NYC reveal more info to him about Dutch’s whereabouts. If you’ve seen the movie, the plot beats are almost all there: gang wars, subway killings, and cops taking on intergalactic hunters of the finest caliber.

'Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series 1989-1996' Review

Overall, this was a total surprise. I thought Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series was going to be more reminiscent of the gritty Aliens comics I remember from Dark Horse, and instead it was much more action flick in nature, but like a James Gunn directed one. Lots of humor and self referential pokes at itself, and just huge and amazingly silly explosions and fight scenes. So many of the characters are completely over the top and crazy, or pastiches of the norm–cop who wants to retire, badass who can’t be hurt, crazy gang leader, etc.

Still, I really enjoyed this trade. It was not in any way my favorite read, because it was just so bombastic and campy at times, but it felt like reading a guilty pleasure. I walked in expecting to see some Predators kick some humans in the face, and some humans to kick back; I got that much.

If nothing else, this feels like a time capsule. They’re on an alien world, or fighting in someone’s mind, and it doesn’t feel as dated.

Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series feels like a straight 80’s movie marathon: Soviet Union secrets, hammy dialog, you name it. This is a window to the past.

If you’re a Predator fan, and you have been looking for something to fill the gap with all the recently terrible movies, this might help you.

It also might make you look up tons of Predator clips online like I’ve been doing, which is not a bad way to spend a lunch break.

Predator 30th Anniversary: Original Comics Series 1989-1996
Is it good?
If you read this for what it is, it's quite enjoyable. Walking into this with nostalgia in mind--to see what Predator comics were like 30 years ago--will serve you well, and make you roll your eyes happily at the crazy parts.
Solid story if you can excuse how damn cheesy it is.
Artwork isn't jarring, or too amazing. Does the job.
There's a lot of blood for an old comic. Makes you remember how drastically different Dark Horse was back then, before Marvel and DC caught up to them
So over the top - if the latest Michael Bay explody-fest is not your night at the movies, this might be a long read.
If you've seen Predator 2 - you'll see how much the base material here pales in comparison to even the most wonky of screenplays

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