Comic Book Review: Predator: Hunters II #1
I’m going to be upfront about this. I love the heck out of the Aliens and Predator series, but this new movie reboot? Simply not my cup of tea. Personally I would rather stick to the books right now which have some creativity put into it rather than taking things back to square one for a quick buck. Given how much I enjoyed the first Predator: Hunters mini, there was nothing but excitement towards the fact that there was a part 2 releasing this month.
Being part 2, I appreciated that this story didn’t jump into anything too new. My biggest fear was that this would be an all-new thing and with a new set of characters. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t have read this if it was, but it was preferred that this would have been a continuation over anything else. With that said, I liked that with this new story they jumped straight into the next mission. These characters confronted the way they felt about barely making it out of the last mission, and made the statement that hunting Predators is what they do. All the little things were dealt with as there needed to be little questioning of why these characters would put their lives on the line again. With all the casualties of the first mission, I’m liked that this time around the team would be just the core group. When crap hits the fan, unfortunately at times you can lose track of who is doing what and that can take you out of the story. Not to mention having this group of familiar characters means we skip past all of the flashbacks and explanations as to where these hunters came from and their purpose for being here.
Shifting the setting of this story to the mountains of Afghanistan was perfect. When you know the kind of people who the Predators come after, this was always going to be an eventuality if you are trying to hunt one. Not only would you be dealing with the Predator in that climate, you would also find yourself dealing with the fear of everything else that can go wrong being surrounded by trigger happy enemies. Plenty of obstacles to throw their way, and it should be cool to see what forms that take, so long as none derail the story more than needed. Till then, it felt only necessary to address the trauma alone that Swain suffers from returning to this battlefield of bad memories. A second trip changes nothing, especially with a change of mission.
There was a lot of moving pieces with this first issue, but luckily it was all easy to follow from the introduction of this new Predator to the world, to the introduction of this mysterious government group hunting the same prey.The shroud of mystery to both is strong, but at least they show a presence.
My big sigh of relief was flipping open to that first page and seeing once again that they brought an a+ team for interior artwork. Agustin Padilla and Neeraj Menon were perfect for their ability to capture the rough atmosphere set when approaching the dangers of Predators. Some pencilers can be troublesome when they use this style of pencils, but Padilla fortunately is not like them. He does this, but delivers in detail and clarity in what’s going on in each scene. Clarity is the most important aspect for me, and that showed through the attention to distinctive features in the faces, the variety in characters and their clothing, and even the rendering of the settings around these characters. The setting in particular looked great and that was the same strong point that you took notice of in the previous Predator: Hunters mini. This was mostly in part credited to Menon who does a great job with natural colors that were never over-the-top. Even with all the bloodshed, that never overshadowed the detail of what’s happening in that moment. It blended more than it covered.
I found Predator: Hunters II #1 to be very satisfying. A stronger start than the first issue of the first mission. With the middleman cut, they were able to jumped straight into this new mission, new threat, and new set of problems to deal with along the way. Its a strange new world when humanity has the grit to take the fight to the Predators.