PREDATOR: HUNTERS #4
I am shocked that it took as long as it did but things go completely to hell for the humans in PREDATOR: HUNTERS #4 from Dark Horse Comics. Author Chris Warner’s tale of a group of humans, all with past Predator experiences, hunting the ultimate hunter seemed like it was finally going give the prey the upper hand. As it turns out even with hybrid alien tech and a group of bad ass soldiers we as a species are still no match for the true hunters. This issue picks up right where we left off with the realization that there are more Predators on this island than just the one. That fact is brought to life in a profound way as the special ops team is torn apart by three more aliens while they attempt to retreat to their boat. The team is broken, their leader lost, infighting all around and that is not even the worst of their problems. It would seem their floating sanctuary is not as safe as they think it is.
There are some really cool ideas at play in this series and I really hope they pay off in the end. This penultimate issue raised the stakes drastically and drove home the point that this is not your normal pack of Predator’s, there is something different about this group which has left me chomping at the bit to see the final issue of the story. They have none of the standard tech, they keep prisoners, and they are hunting in a large group… all of these factors are way outside the norm and this is the first time we have seen this in the thirty year lifespan of the property. Chris Warner has crafted a refreshingly new take on one of the most well known monsters from science fiction and his story has earned all the praise I have heaped upon it. The human characters are all well fleshed out and appropriately broken in the smallest ways due to their past encounters with these creatures. When push came to shove in this issue some folded while others sought the reckoning that inspired them to join the cause in the first place. The various threads are coming together as we move to the final chapter.
The visuals continue to be one of the most defining aspects of his comic book. Artist Fancisco Ruiz Velasco has not only met the challenge of developing character for villains who cannot speak, but has completely exceeded all expectations. There is real cruelty and hatred in this new and different group of hunters and that is all conveyed to the reader through subtleties in the way the creatures animate and their eyes. With only one issue left the pressure is now on the creative team to tie up loose ends and clue the readers in to the mystery they have teased since the onset of the series. Can their conclusion live up to the quality of the work so far? We will know in a few short weeks but one thing is for certain, that this has been one of the best Predator stories I have read and now Warner and Velasco just need to stick the landing.