The covers: With three alien drones behind him, and one of their tales around him, partially transformed Elden stands ready for his trio to take out the Predator who has realized too late that he is outnumbered. Nice cover by E.M. Gist, with Elden’s look creating a bezillion questions from me. I was going to buy this book anyway, but seeing this bizarre looking human has me eager to dive in. The Variant cover, though, was the one I purchased. It’s by two of my favorite comic book talents, Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart. This cover shows the likely ending of all Alien-Predator battles. The Alien lies on its back, its mouth partially open, with its toxic blood pouring out of it and down a rocky mound. Above it is a Predator, impaled from behind by the alien’s spiky tale. A fingernail moon seems to be smiling at the ironic ending for both creatures. I love the image and I love the coloring. Overall grades: Main A and Variant A+
The story: Taking place between the events of the currently running Prometheus: Fire and Stone and Predator: Fire and Stone, Christopher Sebela’s story opens on an alien world where three predators take out a native animal. After their brief hunt, they return to their ship where their scanners reveal a close ship. With prey so near, they leave. Aboard the Perses, en route from the Zeta 2 Reticuli system, the crew of the ship asks what to do of Galgo. Should they hit the cryotubes? They’ve picked up the Kadmos and the Geryon back, plus some alien technology, so they’re going to be rolling in the money. Galgo tells the two pilots to sleep, but first he wants to talk to Francis. This man is being held prisoner, and the pair’s dialogue foreshadow events yet to happen in Prometheus: Fire and Stone. Before Francis can be put in his sleep tube, Elden arrives and things begin to take a turn. A lot is brought up that hasn’t yet occurred in the other title, so this was like watching The Empire Strikes Back without seeing Star Wars (I’m refusing to call it A New Hope); you could enjoy it, but you’d feel a little lost, and I did. I’m all for the action that this book has, human versus human, alien versus human, alien versus predator, but I’m completely at a loss as to what Elden’s motivations and goals are, as is the relationship between Galgo and Francis. I enjoyed this, but am not fully understanding it. Overall grade: B
The art: This book looks amazing. The entire issue is illustrated by Ariel Olivetti, whose work I first encountered on Upper Deck’s Versus card game system. Every page is painted and things are lush beyond belief. The opening first page is a beautiful beginning. The creature that the predators go after is perfect–great muscle work on it. The interiors of the Perses look terrific. They are not the usual dark and dim settings in most comics, but follow the lighting scheme similar to any film from the Alien franchise–some are bright and others dim, but not wholly black. This is because Olivetti is coloring is own work, and he knows exactly what to do. Elden is a unique addition to the AVP franchises, and I’ve never seen anything look like him before. He would be a fantastic character to see in a film and would the scare the tar out of anyone if it were a Halloween costume. The aliens look great. This is how any fan would like to see them. They are ferocious, fast, and fearsome. The predators are okay. They look fine, but they’re wearing their masks, so readers aren’t treated to their faces. I prefer them without the masks, but this will undoubtedly occur later in the series. I look forward to seeing Olivetti’s every page. Overall grade: A
The letters: Sounds, predator speech, scene setting, dialogue, and transmissions are done by Nate Piekos of Blambot. It’s hard not to get giddy seeing predator dialogue in comics again, and the alien hisses are gloriously ominous. Piekos is doing a fantastic job. Overall grade: A
The final line: I’m lost with the characters’ backgrounds, but am enjoying the many melees that break out. I’m going to tilt my grade on the high side, feeling confident that Dark Horse knows what it’s doing. Overall grade: A-
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.