Friday, April 19, 2013

CBR Predator OMNIBUS Vol. 2


Time for another Dark Horse Omnibus reviewed - I just love these!

Want more Alien/Predator-related reviews? Check the following!!

Comic title: Predator OMNIBUS: Volume 2
Art by Evan Dorkin, Jordan Raskin, Derek Thompson & others
Written by John Arcudi, Andrew Vachss, Randy Stradley & Evan Dorkin

Published by Dark Horse Comics
From 2008
Lineup Alien/Predator Series
Format: Omnibus-sized Trade Paperback collecting Big Game, God's Truth (from Dark Horse Presents 46), Race War, The Hunted City (from Dark Horse Comics 16-19), Blood on Two-Witch Mesa (from Dark Horse Comics 20-21), Invaders from the Fourth Dimension, and 1718 (from A Decade of Dark Horse 1).

And here's the second Predator Omnibus!

This one collects early 1990s material, specifically around 1991. Mostly several smaller story arcs.

Compared to the Aliens or Alien Vs Predator (AVP) franchises, the Predator comics series never went under the same scrutiny from the editors at Dark Horse.

That translated into less strict editorial mandates, like making stories fit in an established continuity.

Which also meant more place for creativity.

The alien Predators are back on Earth to hunt the biggest game there is... Man!

In the first story called "Big Game" written by John Arcudi and with art from Evan Dorkin we go back a pure simple traditional Predator story. It contains all the elements of a great Predator tale. It also was the first Predator comic to not be related in any way to the movies after Dutch's brother and the movie adaptations. It follows a Native American in the army, Enoch Nakai. Nakai faces a Predator in the forest and loses his friend there. When he goes back to camp, they found the creature's spacecraft. He tries to run away... but ends up having to take responsibility into his own hands and accept his fate... It was very successful at the time and was also released as a trade paperback. It helped establish Predator comics in the marker and was written by The Mask's original writer himself, John Arcudi who went on working on several Alien/Predator/AVP comics. Great gritty bloody story.

"God's Truth" is a short story by John Arcudi as well, drawn by Rob Walton. It's a grandfather retelling a story, a gimmick that would be used several times after that. About an escaped prisoner that guards went after in the Everglades in Florida. The Predator only let one man live. It's a simple yet effective story, it's in black & white and looks pretty neat. I like these sort of exercises in style, which Predator is perfect for.

"Race War" is another mini-series and it takes the most pages in this entire omnibus. It was written by Randy Stradley & Andrew Vachss and drawn by Jordan Raskin & Lauchland Pelle. It's about a Predator attacking a penitentiary. A nice change of setting after the cities, the jungle and other usual warzones. A Predator arrives at Paloverde State Penitentiary, meanwhile a man named Cross is following its killing spree while a task force lead by a blondie (from Predator 2?) is also following the alien hunter. It's a fun and detailed enough story that suffers from a creative team team mid-series. Which means a change of art style (for the worse) and format...

"The Hunted City" is a smaller mini-series, by Charles Moore and featuring art by D. Alexander Gregory. It takes place in the 1940s, in the heart of Manhattan. In 1949, New York, mobsters are pitting gangs against each other. And a Predator is on the hunt in these dangerous streets. In the middle of that, journalists and feds make of this story a dark pulp-ysh tale. It's a fun one, it probably was the inspiration behind the game Concrete Jungle.

"Blood on Two-Witch Mesa" is a two-parter by writer Terry LaBan and artist Howard Cobb. It sees the return of Native American US corporal Enoch Nakai from Big Game (above!). Still haunted by the demons from his first encounter with a Predator, his grandfather tells him a similar story how he apparently faced off against a Predator during the end of the old west. Simple, short, a nice story and a smart use of an already established character for a change.

"Invaders From the Fourth Dimension" is another one shot. Written by Jerry Prosser and drawn by Jim Somerville. This one's a tribute to science fiction of old, 1950s invasion flicks to be precise a theme Dark Horse during that month (they did similarly in an Aliens comics at the time). It's 1959, and lots of invasion "Z movies" are being released. An actual Predator lands in Hollywood and start hunting crooks. With the help from a pair of "4D glasses" producers meant as the latest gimmick to drag in crowds, a 11 years old is able to see the Predator... is it his imagination or is there an actual monster stalking him? Funny short story, not meant to be taken too seriously.

Finally we have "1718", a short story meant for the anniversary issue "A Decade of Dark Horse" written by Henry Gilroy with gorgeous painted art from Igor Kordey. As said in the title, it takes place in the 1700s, the era of pirates. In an island in the Guinea, a pirate that wants to return gold to a church faces mutiny...before facing a Predator in a duel to the death! This short story offers the background behind the 1718 gun that was given to Danny Glover in Predator 2. The story was based on an unused script by screenwriters Jim Thomas and John Thomas mean for a mid-90s sequel that never got made. The idea was to feature the Predator in a world with no modern weapons. Colorful and very engaging. It's definitively the best feature of the entire book, definitively a must read.

And that is all for this time!

Overall, another pretty fun entertaining book!

It's over 450 pages worth of classic Predator comics. And while the tone and quality depends from one story to another, it just shows how original and unique could be Predator stories.

You have one constant, a Predator creature crash lands somewhere to hunt down humans, and the style and tone could adapt and change radically.

I really love these omnibus. They always offer a great read, and I sincerely prefer those over hard cover or regular trade paperback-sized omnibuses. They're much easier to carry around and to read out there. When a book's over 400 pages, you need it to be practical to be readable...

Anyways, it's another great collection of classic Predator stories.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Aaylas!

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