11 December, 2014

"My World is Acid and Blood"

A review of Predator #2
Part Eight in "James Versus Fire and Stone"

Am I behind on this? Yeah, I'm behind on this. Sorry. Things have come up. Like this Farcry 4 review. And the podcast's new home. But all that's behind me and you have my full attention. Come on. Sit down right here and let Papa K-berry tell you a thing or two about Fox Media franchises.

I looooooove Predator #2. It's a hulking amalgamation of high adventure and scummy sci-fi exploitation. It's everything I ever dreamed a Predator comic could be.
It's basically an amalgamation of 1980's action movies cliches packed into a fairly straight-forward comic. It is exactly as dumb as it is smart, and that is exactly what a sci-fi action movie needs to be. As a testament to its quality, that assemblage of ideas and tropes are not the kind of thing I flock towards. That's my friend AJ's thing. Maybe that's even Cruz's thing. It is not mine. But here, it's simple, it's fun and I don't have to think about what this says about the human condition or whatever other French junk that's bouncing through my head.

Props to Lucas Graciano for a great cover.
Williamson and Mooneyham decided that this comic wasn't packed with enough classic action movie tropes, he has made Galgo the Merc and the Scarred Predator into a kind of odd couple pairing. But instead of them being a good cop/bad cop team, they're a bad cop/intergalactic trophy hunter cop. Unlike a lot of concepts on paper, this one is as good as it sounds.

It then gilds this concept by chaining the predator and Galgo together, because why the hell not?

Oh man. The predator is also missing an eye, because he's a crusty old predator and he's seen some things in his day.

Oh man.

A lot of licensed comics feel like somebody is checking off a list. Predator? Check. Jungle? Check. Gore? Check. I won't accuse any of the other books on the Fire and Stone line up of doing that, but, the worst of them seem so rote. Or they seem like somebody got real excited that their fanfic was elevated. There's no life to the book. Predator #1 and #2 don't read like that. They read with a healthy mix of enthusiasm and daring.

What makes Predator work is that the premise is clear. The direction and motives are clear. While there are some mild surprises here and there, they aren't in the actual substance of the story. At no point was I forced to ask the questions “What?” or “Really” or “The fuck is this shit?” It works on its own steam and good for everyone involved for pulling that one out of the hat.

MUTANT OF THE WEEK: I am sorry to say that no proper mutants have appeared in the comic book-- YET. Presumably they're saving that for an issue #3 reveal. In the mean time what we get instead is a giant alien bull-thing (patent pending). It hardly counts as a mutant of interest, but Merc Cop and Pred Cop do manage to decapitate it with their laser handcuffs.

Go home, GIS, you're drunk.
TRIPLE LASER POINT OF EXCELLENCE. Williamson and Mooneyham have put together a nice little sci-fi/action story that is exactly what it needs to be. It's big. It's crazy. It's fun. Remember fun? It makes sense that the rest of the items in Fire and Stone aren't “fun” (even Aliens, which has the distinction of being simply “good” is rather dour). Fun is what this cluster-eff of an event needed.

I give Predator #2 a FIVE OUT OF FIVE CHESTBURSTERS. This comic almost makes this entire Stone and Fire series worth it. I mean, I don't think I would have picked this book up and enjoyed it in the way that I am if it wasn't for this entire, dumb series and this even dumber dare that I gave myself. For that, I suppose, I am thankful. Still doesn't make AvP any more literate, but I'm still grateful.

Put that blurb on your cover, Dark Horse.

Apropos of nothing, if you want pulp fiction, check out Bitch Planet #1, which came out this week. It's got. . . Lord Jesus, so many nipples.

You can read the previous installments of "James Versus Fire and Stone" below:
Prometheus #3
Alien Versus Predator #2
Aliens #2
Predator #1
Alien #1 and Prometheus #1

James Kislingbury is a boxed wine connoisseur, a writer, and a podcaster. You can support his show A Quality Interruption here.