Consider the star grade on this issue an “incomplete.” While this is the first quarter of the story and we certainly wouldn’t have seen this much of the Predators in a feature film one-quarter of the way in, the story is painfully incomplete. Yes, I do realize it is a comic book and comics by their very nature should be serialized, have cliffhanger endings, and compel the reader to want the next issue. This issue hits all the checkboxes, but isn’t compelling enough for me to want to come back and see the Predator absolutely shred the main character whose name escaped me the instant the cover was closed.
Arcudi drops the Predators into an East African conflict — amazingly a new location for the franchise, but as long as humans are around, the Predators will have a range of skirmishes to chose from. As far as Predator plots go, this is safe and prescribed. The biggest difference here, however, seems to be that the Predators have stepped up their game and are not simply hunting, but marking land. Arcudi does a great job of conveying the ruthlessness and cunning of the Predators, but quickly plays them out of character by making them brazen, as they move about uncloaked.
The art on the book obviously benefits from having visible antagonists, but around the Predators’ first appearance, the coloring shifts and changes the overall mood of the story, just as the story itself plunges into hell. The first scene of the book has a more airy coloring about it, clean and crisp — perhaps indicative of coloring rendered in “Flash.” The remainder of the book is grittier and edgy, allowing Saltares’ original lines to show through and personalize the characters a bit. The visuals are a journeyman like effort, but do little to make this book visually compelling. Peripheral characters begin to blend in appearance and the Predator scenes visibly have more attention delivered to them.
This book is a nice offering to Predator fans as a fix, but the final collected story may just be more satisfying to fans who need a little more substance to their Predator reading.