In Review: Predator: Fire and Stone #1

A fantastic opening issue with a super story and sensational visuals. Hunt this down!

The covers: A pair for you to hunt down if you’re warrior enough. The Main cover is by Lucas Graciano with a Predator jumping out of a hatch, its wrist blades covered in blood from an earlier kill, with Galgo unaware of the imminent battle, even if he’s got that Engineer weapon. Nice image, but way too bright. How could a Predator hope to go stealth on a ship so brightly lit? The Variant cover was the one I had to pick up. Featuring art by Alex Maleev with colors by Dave Stewart, this has Galgo sporting a pistol in some tech environment, though the floor has liquid going up to his knees. He’s just heard the sound of a Predator coming out of stealth mode, and the creature is just starting to appear. Gorgeous composition and the coloring is great. I love the combination of the tans and yellows. Great cover. Overall grade: Main B- and Variant A+

The story: Taking place after the events of Prometheus: Fire and Stone and Aliens: Fire and Stone, this story by Joshua Williamson begins with the cryo defrost being initiated on Higgins. He’s not waking quickly enough, so Golgo slaps him to get him up. Piper is already up, and Golgo fills in the “old man” with the events of the previous series. He got them away from all the aliens, “…let those freaks work out their differences,” and these three are on their own on a ship, but he’s detected another life form on their ship. He needs the two men to help him find out what it is. They can’t use firearms because it would blow a hole through the ship, so they have to resort to using electric sparkers similar to those in the original Alien. As they make their plans they are unaware that a Predator is looking at them, as they are shown via their heat signatures. Naturally the three split up, with Piper going solo. The Predator soon appears before one of them, and stuff happens. You don’t have to be a genius to know what happens, but long time fans of the franchise will know Piper’s fate. What is surprising is what happens with Higgins and Golgo. Pages 12 – 15 were a wonderfully unexpected moment. Page 16’s reveal is not a surprise, but 22 was. I thought I knew what this book would be about, but the final page is spinning this series in a wildly different direction. Thank you, Mr. Williamson. This looks to be a unique adventure. Overall grade: A- 

The art: This is fantastic artwork. I’ve never encountered Christopher Mooneyham’s work before and it’s gorgeous. His style reminds me Klaus Janson’s. If you like that look, you’ll be very happy. If you don’t know who that is–shame on you!–but you’ll be a fan quickly. The issue opens with Higgins leaving cryo sleep and it’s told for two panels solely with sound effects and dialogue until slowly revealing the man’s face, looking distraught at being awakened, but then he’s slapped violently. Great energy lines in the bottom panel to emphasize the power of the slap. The next page reveals the futuristic setting in and out of the ships. Readers are instantly placed in the environment because of the illustrations. The characters are very different looking and stand out even at a distance: Higgins has a terrific walrus mustache, Golgo a big scar cutting diagonally across his head and over his left eye, and Piper being clean shaven. The heat vision point of view from the Predator looks straight out of the films, with the voice analyzer on the left a nice addition. The Predator looks really good, even when cloaked, as one confrontation begins with it in that mode. Page 8’s final panel is an outstanding image that highlights the character’s damage and leaving some of it to the reader’s imagination, but my favorite panels are the fourth and fifth on Page 9–Outstanding layout and execution. Page 16 is fine, and reminds me of Chris Warner’s work on Dark Horse’s original Predator comic. The last panel on the final page excellently captures the mood of the character and mirrors the reader’s face as well. Excellent, excellent art. Overall grade: A+  

The colors: Dan Brown does a great job at keeping things dim aboard this spaceship, but bright enough to see what’s going on. I like how he doesn’t make elements just one color, making them several different shades. For example, the slap that wakes Higgins starts out as white, which highlights the red of the sound, and then become yellow and then orange the farther the energy dispersal goes. It also happens on the same page in the second panel for the sound effect. Brown keeps things dark, but not completely ebony. Blues, grays, and violets are used to create dark corners and I liked it. The top of Page 3 had an excellent Predator vision panel and was a tip off to any fan of whose eyes they are seeing the scene through. The Predator panels on Page 6 look great since the baddie was in stealth mode. The final five panels used great reds to showcase emotional moments and one significant hologram. Brown is making this book great. Overall grade: A

The letters: The first page is a letterer’s dream as it relies primarily on lettering to tell the story. A great combination of different fonts emphasize the different things happening to Higgins. In addition to sensation sounds, Nate Piekos of Blambot provides dialogue, yells, and screams. The sounds are really amazing. Often I want to see more sounds in Dark Horse’s science fiction titles and this book is allowing Piekos to do them and I’m all the happier because of their inclusion. Overall grade: A+

The final line: A fantastic opening issue with a super story and sensational visuals. Hunt this down! 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.

 

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five 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.

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