Review: Predator: Life and Death #4

This first story arc of the seventeen issue maxi-series comes to a close. In this opening chapter, Colonial Marines butt heads with Predators as the sides two fight to claim one of those Engineer ships seen in the films Prometheus and Alien(s).  I liked the premise of putting two equal forces against one another.  In the previous issues a tug-of-war of dominance persisted that created an interesting conflict.

Predator---Life-and-Death-#4Many reviewers agreed that the first few parts to “Life and Death” dealt more with characters who were mere tropes, such as the trigger-happy soldier.  I understood that the basis of this plot relies on a great deal of characters, so the need to include somewhat archetypal characters came out of necessity more than scripting laziness.

I personally liked the story and felt it deserved more than four issues to test the two sides.  The Predators have their advanced weaponry and camouflage; the Colonial Marines possess adequate firepower and numbers.  With more development this plot could have evolved into something with more breadth.

Unfortunately, the climax ends with a less-than-surprising conclusion that serves to pass the torch to the next installment more than it serves to create closure for this series.  As it should be no spoil, the Colonial Marines leave the Predator title for the next set of books that will deal with the Engineers.  Prometheus: The God’s Own Fire! will be the title for the next set of tales.

The book’s art features a kind of watercolor or washout look.  While the illustrations have a different feel, I think a book like this benefits from the details.  Motion blurs that come from the Predator’s camouflage need to stand out, and that’s not easy when the background has an intentionally distorted look.  I’m not saying the art’s bad—I could not illustrate as well as Mr. Thies.

In the end the two elements that make comics what they are, art and storytelling, just don’t work as well as they should have for this series.  So the best assessment I could supply is outstanding concept but average execution.

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Predator: Life and Death #4
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Brian Albert Thies
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Release Date: 6/1/16
Price: $3.99
Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital