• Predator: Life And Death #3

    Predator: Life And Death #3
    Released by: Dark Horse Comics
    Released on: May 4th, 2016.
    Written by: Dan Abnett
    Illustrated by: Brian Albert Thies
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    “On the planet Tartarus, Captain Paget’s Colonial Marines have come under attack by extraterrestrial “hunters” equipped with cloaking devices and plasma cannons. The marines seem to be able to match the hunters in a fair fight, but the hunters’ tactics are anything but fair. Under their mission directives from the Weyland-Yutani Corporation, the marines are required to commandeer the massive horseshoe-shaped alien spacecraft they’ve discovered—but they’ll be lucky if they can just make it back to their own ship!”

    The chase is on. Paget and the survivors are racing across the compound. She’s trying to get in radio contact with Sergeant Roth but there’s no response, at least not at first – eventually she gets him on the other end and he warns her of ‘hard contact.’ We cut to Ross and his team as they open fire on the team of Predator hunters that are currently laying waste to anyone and everyone around them. They manage to kill one of the hunters, but the others… they simply vanish, seemingly into thin air. As they regroup they realize there were casualties on both sides, three Marines are dead.

    The other crew, they took out two hunters, maybe more, but after the skirmish they took their wounded into the jungle. After the various crews communicate they realize that, yeah, they held their own but they really don’t know how many hunters are out there or when or where they’ll strike next. The survivors that Paget’s team rescued from the base, they explain what they know – the ship that they found on the surface of the planet doesn’t belong to the Predators, but they sure seem interested in it. Lorimer, towing the Weyland-Yutani Corporation company line, accuses the team of illegal salvage attempts and orders Paget’s crew to secure the ship. The company owns it. She takes him aside and lays it down – the Predators took out ninety percent of the team based on this planet and a bunch of her Marines. If they start preparing the ship that the hunters want to return to Weyland-Yutani, the Predators will come for them and probably kill them all. Lorimer isn’t having it – he says the Marines can out point and out gun the Predators, and she’s legally mandated to do what he tells her.

    And so the Marines split into two teams – one to head into the jungle to flush out the hunters and the other to get the ship ready. Essentially, they prepare for war.

    Dan Abnett’s script is obviously building, with this issue, to what is sure to be a violent and tense conclusion in next month’s fourth and final issue. There’s plenty of action in this installment but so too is there some interesting plot development, a key part of the story being the conflict that now exists between Paget (who wants to keep her troops save) and Lorimer (who wants to do what the corporation pays him to do). There’s also a growing sense of tension between some of the Marines as well, the firefight that went down having not only taken a toll on their numbers, but on some of their psyches as well. They weren’t’ expecting this job would require them to take on a squad of killer xenomorphs. It’s a solid story, once again nicely illustrated by Brian Albert Thies whose artwork has a real knack for showing movement and action. Rain Beredo’s coloring helps bring it all to life and the end result is a very solid addition, thus far, to the pantheon of Dark Horse’s Predator comics line.

    It’s also worth noting that there are a few sketch pages in the back of this issue that show off Brian Albert Thies’ art process – character and vehicle design mostly – always cool to see stuff like this.