Marvel's Predator #1 Review: A Big, Ambitious, And Futuristic Exploration Of The Hunter

The "Predator" franchise has been two things over its years in the pop culture landscape: enduring and inconsistent. Sequels have never followed in rapid succession, so fans have been forced to wait for long stretches of time between installments. And when those installments do come, they are usually a radical departure from what came before. Just look at what was recently done with "Prey" on Hulu, which takes the action back to the Great Plains in the 1700s and pits the hunter against Comanche Indians. Well, fortunately, the folks at Marvel Comics are here to ensure that we all have something to fill the void after watching "Prey" as a brand new, very ambitious series has been launched by the publisher.

Marvel's "Predator" #1 is ushering in a new era of comics based on the franchise after the property existed at Dark Horse for many years. In this case, we have writer Ed Brisson ("Ghost Rider," "The Silver Coin") and artist Kev Walker ("Doctor Aphra," "Marvel Zombies") taking the franchise into the not-too-distant future with a very sci-fi heavy tale that actually has an impressively huge scope, while also not forgetting to focus on the violent, bloody nature of the beast at hand. Like some of the best stuff in the franchise since the original 1987 action classic, it marries the familiar with something new.

Without getting too much into the specifics of it all (as to preserve the fun), the story mostly centers on a young girl named Theta who suffers a great tragedy at the hands of a Predator during an exploration mission on a distant planet. Years later, Theta is alive with a singular focus: find the monster responsible and kill it.

Making use of a lack of constraints

Movies have to contend with budgetary constraints. A smaller budget can mean more freedom, but it constricts what can be accomplished on screen. A bigger budget means the filmmaker can go bigger, but it can lead to more cooks in the kitchen and a compromised vision. 2018's "The Predator" feels like a great example of this. The benefit of comics is that ink costs the same whether you're writing and drawing people having a conversation, or crafting distant worlds and futuristic technology. Brisson and Walker take full advantage of that fact in this first issue by going big in a way the movies really haven't been able to up to this point.

This is a planet-hopping, violent, adventurous space tale. The Predators aren't the only aliens at hand, providing a sense of exploration and adventure not unlike "Star Trek" at moments. Yet, we're never too far away from dread and R-rated violence. It's horror blended with humanity-centric sci-fi amongst the stars. It feels like "Predator" but it also feels comic book-y in the best of ways. This is a story that honors the integrity of the property while also taking a big swing in a different direction.

The only shame of it is that our binge-centric culture has made reading a single issue of a comic that is published monthly feel akin to eating one chicken nugget, then having to wait several weeks before you're allowed to eat the next one. Really though, the impatience I currently feel is more of a compliment to the work. The move for many might be to wait until the first collected edition is eventually published. Regardless of the method, fans of the franchise would do well to flip through these blood-soaked, space-centric pages.

"Predator" #1 hits shelves and digital retailers on August 10, 2022.