EXCL: Predator: Hunters Celebrates 30 Years of Mandible Clicking Carnage

This summer marks thirty years since Arnold Schwarzenegger and his elite special forces team fell prey to otherworldly Predators in war-torn Val Verde, Central America. Of course, the long hunt has been afoot for storied eons, but Dark Horse and Twentieth Century Fox are sounding the horn for a special anniversary celebration. Thirty years of sweat-soaked, mandible-clicking hide-and-seek, from silver screen to comics stand.

In advance of a hardcover collection of Mark Verheiden’s “Predator: The Original Comics Series - Concrete Jungle and Other Stories,” Dark Horse is embarking on a new five-issue series in May. Written by senior editor Chris Warner, with art by Francisco Ruiz Velasco (“Hellboy II,” “Pacific Rim”), “Predator: Hunters” summons a few familiar faces to turn the tables on the latest earthbound hunt.

"The primary setting in Predator: Hunters is an isolated, privately owned archipelago in the South Pacific populated by the descendants of an eccentric 19th-century merchant and his employees," Warner said. "Into this tropical paradise comes a purported oceanographic expedition that is, in truth, a cover for a much more lethal mission. But the remote islands hold their own secrets."

It’s unclear just how much the home team advantage stacks up in this particular battle royale, but the typically hard up humans do have some ringers in their favor.

“We’ll see the return of several characters who survived their encounters with Predators from Dark Horse series of the past,” says Warner, “specifically Enoch Nakai, the Navajo soldier from “Big Game,” and Mandy Graves, the lone survivor of a black-ops team who tracked and fought a Predator in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in “Bad Blood.”

Callbacks like that make this new romp all the juicier for longtime fans of the franchise. Warner points specifically to 1993’s “Predator: Bad Blood,” written by Evan Dorkin and illustrated by Derek Thompson, as a highlight of his editing tenure.

“The concept of that series was that the equivalent of a Predator serial killer had come to Earth, tracked by another Predator looking to take him down. Evan’s 'Psycho Predator' was a deranged killing machine, which violated the more honorable tenets of the Predator culture, and a lawman of sorts was on the creature’s tail. And, as always, when humans get involved, matters get far worse before they get better.”

One can only imagine just how much things have changed for Earth, the humans, and the relentless Predators since 1993.

“Humans have garnered more information on the Predators over the years,” says Warner. “Humanity has become more proactive in dealing with the off-world hunters. Humans have learned that the Predators have visited us for centuries and more often than we’d ever imagined. We’re not exactly ready for them, but we know they’re here, and we’re hunting them.”

The tables turn in “Predator: Hunters #1,” slipping out of stealth mode in May.

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