"Predator: Hunters #5" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Dark Horse Comics
Written by Chris Warner
Illustrated by Francisco Ruiz Valasco
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 6th, 2017
The hunted became the hunters and then became the hunted again as the survivors of Predator attacks had the tables turned on them. The secrets behind this strange island habitat of Predators stand revealed, forcing the team to fight for their lives once again. It's one thing to have to battle highly trained alien warriors; it's another when you're also fighting a bunch of crazy islanders obsessed with the Most Dangerous Game.
This turn is where Predator: Hunters lost me. The book takes its time getting to the grand finale which, forces the climax to feel rushed. There are three groups converging on this island. You have a handful of Predators, an advanced race of warriors that have been effectively shipwrecked here and confined to the island thanks to the nearby colonists. I don't buy that as these creatures are cunning and deftly skilled in warfare. You're telling me they couldn't think of a trap of some kind to take out the people visiting, dropping off supplies, and occasionally hunting?
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Then you have the survivors, who are basically the prey now, forgetting everything they've trained for over the first two issues to run for their lives. As a reminder, all of them were selected for this mission because they survived encounters with a Predator(s). And finally, there are the colonists, who are doing the hunting after dropping a boat load of exposition explaining why they're doing all this in the first place. If a group of nearby natives discovered the remains of Jurassic Park and decided to worship / hunt with the dinosaurs there, you might be close to this situation.
Although Predator: Hunters falls short in the story department, it greatly excels in the artwork. It's essentially a showcase for Francisco Ruiz Valasco, who delivers riveting action and impressive fight scenes. There is a frenetic energy to the book, as if the images are moving across the page. It moves at an accelerated pace to the point where you can practically hear a booming soundtrack as the finale approaches.
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The human-on-human violence is exciting, but the Predator attacks steal the show. They move with grace and efficiency, focused solely on isolating their target and completing the kill. It's frightening to watch them at work as they flow through the jungle and approach their prey. Despite their terrifying nature, there is an honor to them that comes through in how they carry themselves. There are rules to the hunt.
Predator: Hunters would have benefited from one more chapter to flesh out its story. As it stands, the ending is rushed. Everything is tied up in a nice little bow at the end with sudden appearances and changes that come out of nowhere and are a little too convenient. If this was a movie, it would be like cramming the last half hour of action into five minutes.