Predator 4 (March 1990)

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Street gangs versus the Predators. It’s actually a good battle scene. It takes up a good third of the issue; Verheiden definitely comes up with exiting visuals for the artists to realize.

The comic’s pretty lame though. Verheiden front loaded it with characters who disappear–the black police captain shows up again here; why’s he memorable? He’s black. It’s lazy writing and unbelievable.

The narration from the family man cop is pretty dang good though. Verheiden never gets into Schaefer’s head this issue and it works out. The family man has a lot better observations about the situation, far more emotionally charged.

There’s a fair amount of events in the issue, so it’s not a breezy read. It takes some time and has definite tension before the big battle scene.

I’m just trying to remember if anything else happens here. It’s build up, action, occasional good dialogue and no depth.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 3 (November 1989)

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So Schaefer gets kidnapped by a drug lord and has to break out. Meanwhile his partner is trying to let everyone know there’s an alien invasion coming. Lots of warships cloaked in Manhattan, you know… the norm.

Occasionally Verheiden will give Warner some awesome scene to draw–the Pam Am building being a meeting place for the aliens and the military–but a lot of the comic is the South American stuff. It’s a bridging issue is all and a four issue series shouldn’t need one.

Especially not since Verheiden contrives the whole thing with the drug lords. It would have been more natural if Schaefer had stumbled across them instead of being their nemesis.

The genial readability quality is going too. Verheiden has used up his good will. He’s stopped doing anything interesting and is now just trotting through a lame plot.

Hopefully the next (and last) issue’ll succeed.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; artists, Ron Randall and Chris Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 2 (September/October 1989)

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So even though this Predator takes place in New York, Verheiden thinks it’s got room to go down to the jungle from the first movie. Oddly, it does. Oh, and I think he must have referred to the general by name in the last one because it’s all over the place here.

But, yeah, the pacing. Verheiden pretty much just skips between the two partners, with the family man cop’s narration being a lot more thoughtful. The Schaefer–that’s Arnie’s character’s brother–narration is more forced. Verheiden knows he needs some kind of exposition, goes with it.

There’s some neat time lapses to make things flow better and an excellent confrontation scene between Schaefer and his boss. It’s a shame the fight between Schaefer and the Predator at the end isn’t better. The scenes just before and just after are great, which makes for it.

Besides bad action, it’s good.

CREDITS

Writer, Mark Verheiden; penciller, Chris Warner; inkers, Sam de la Rosa and Warner; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, Jim Massara; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Predator 1 (June 1989)

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Cops, gangs and a Predator… sounds like a movie. Oh, wait, it was a movie. Only Mark Verheiden’s Predator came before Predator 2, probably when they thought Schwarzenegger would play his own brother.

But Verheiden sets the story in New York, narrated by a tired detective with a crazy huge partner (the brother of Schwarzenegger’s character from the first movie). They investigate this weird gang war, which has the general from the movie hanging around (oddly unnamed so far), and get into it with their boss.

It feels a little like Robocop in terms of urban dystopia, but Verheiden does do a fair approximation of a decent cop show. The narrator is extremely likable and there are some great lines. Verheiden has his scene pacing down.

Chris Warner’s composition is better than the actual art. There are some interesting transitions between panels and some effective angles.

It’s totally fine stuff.

CREDITS

The Heat; writer, Mark Verheiden; penciller, Chris Warner; inkers, Sam de la Rosa and Randy Emberlin; colorist, Chris Chalenor; letterer, David Jackson; editor, Randy Stradley; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 16 (December 1993)

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I feel like I need to send Dan Jolley a thank you letter for making this issue of Dark Horse Comics tolerable. Well, for his Aliens story anyway. It’s got an unexpected conclusion. There’s not a lot of story—it’s a chase sequence and a resolution—but Jolley plays with expectations a little. Nadeau and Pallot do fine on art.

Naifeh and inker Alex Nino, however, are even worse this issue than last on their Thing story. Not the mention Martin’s conclusion is mildly inexplicable. It’s too bad Dark Horse didn’t keep their creators on the Thing comics consistent. Martin really doesn’t cut it, when it comes to plotting. I guess his dialogue is fine, but the art’s so ugly it’s hard to even look at the story.

As for Charles Moore, D. Alexander Gregory and Rob Hayes’s Predator with gangsters in the forties?

The art’s good. Moore’s writing isn’t.

CREDITS

Predator, The Hunted City, Part One; writer, Charles Moore; penciller, D. Alexander Gregory; inker, Rob Hayes; colorist, Gregory Wright; letterer, Bill Pearson. Aliens, Cargo , Part Two; writer, Dan Jolley; penciller, John Nadeau; inker, Terry Pallot; colorist, James Sinclair; letterer, Clem Robins. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part Four; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Alex Nino; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Robins. Editors, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 14 (October 1993)

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I realized, a few pages in to Mike W. Barr and Brad Rader’s Mark story, Rader’s a good artist. He’s at the beginning of his career, but he’s good. He does these Eisner-homage close-ups. Nice stuff. But The Mark looked bad at the start—because the character’s design is ludicrous.

It takes place in a pseudo-Nazi Germany or something. The writing’s generally okay, but the comics’s all about those close-ups.

Dorkin and Thompson finish their Predator story next and, wow, does Thompson get lazy. Dorkin’s script is dumb—his high humor is a dying guy making dumb jokes about being Ford-tough, but the art hammers in the nail.

Naifeh’s good on The Thing story, which really does seem to avoid any previous comic appearances. There’s some excellent writing… too bad it’s lines directly from the movie and not from Martin.

Besides Predator, it’s not bad.

CREDITS

The Mark, Part One: Taking Back the Streets; writer, Mike W. Barr; artist, Brad Rader; colorist, John A. Wilcox; letterer, Clem Robins. Predator, Bad Blood, Part Three; writer, Evan Dorkin; penciller, Derek Thompson; inker, Ande Parks; colorist, Robbie Busch; letterer, Pat Brosseau. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part Two; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Moose Baumann; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Clem Robins. Editors, Bob Schreck, Chris Warner, Jerry Prosser, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Comics 13 (September 1993)

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So is Dark Horse Comics where Dark Horse stuck all their licensed properties once Presents’s sales dropped?

The creative teams are mildly interesting. Jim Woodring writing Aliens—nothing happens, it’s an all action story—with Kilian Plunkett on the art? It looks good anyway.

Ted Naifeh pencilling a Thing story? It’s more distinct because Edward Martin III’s script sort of ignores all the other Dark Horse Thing comics. It’s not a bad thing necessarily, but Martin’s a little less creative than one would like.

Then it’s an Evan Dorkin Predator story. It’s kind of funny—a Predator crashes a paint ball competition. But the humor doesn’t carry over to the dialogue; it’s just a funny idea. The Derek Thompson art is trying something different for a Predator story, lots of emotive, elongated faces.

It’s interesting to see these attempts, but none of them are good. Especially not the Aliens.

CREDITS

Aliens, Backsplash, Part Two; writer, Jim Woodring; artist, Kilian Plunkett; colorist, Matthew Hollingsworth; letterer, Ellie De Ville. The Thing From Another World, Questionable Research, Part One; writer, Edward Martin III; penciller, Ted Naifeh; inker, Moose Baumann; colorist, Ray Murtaugh; letterer, Clem Robins. Predator, Bad Blood, Part Two; writer, Evan Dorkin; penciller, Derek Thompson; inker, Ande Parks; colorist, Robbie Busch; letterer, Pat Brosseau. Editors, Ryder Windham, Randy Stradley and Martin; publisher, Dark Horse Comics.

Dark Horse Presents 147 (October 1999)

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I wanted to like Ragnok—not because Arcudi’s writing, but because Sook’s on the art. But it’s dark and indistinct. Lots and lots of black—very Mignola-lite. If Arcudi maybe had an interesting script, it would work. Unfortunately, the script seems to be going for something eccentric; Sook’s art doesn’t fit it. Maybe it’ll get better….

The last Ghost installment is a waste of time. Luke’s writing has gotten steadily worse as the installments went on (this time, when he tries to talk about sexism, it’s painful). Worse, Baker and Kolle’s art suffers from the script. There’s this waste of a full page panel. Still, it has a funny conclusion.

And Aliens vs. Predator finishes awful. Thompson and O’Connell’s weak art certainly doesn’t help it, but the fault is the script. Edginton goes a different route than expected—he ignores the heavy continuity and just writes a dumb story.

CREDITS

Ragnok, Part One; story by John Arcudi; art by Ryan Sook; lettering by Mike Heisler. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Three; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part Two; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins. Edited by Randy Stradley and Chris Haberman.

Dark Horse Presents 146 (September 1999)

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I was really expecting more from Edginton here. His Aliens vs. Predator starts out as a rip of Alien—bickering crew, uncharted planet—only adding in aliens once the people land (they don’t have spacesuits either). But then it turns out to be a poorly conceived “thirty years in the future” sequel to the first Aliens vs. Predator series. Doesn’t help Thompson and O’Connell’s art is weak. Though I guess the spaceship looks all right.

Shabrken continues with enthusiasm from artists Henry and Lieber (though the scale of the events gets out of control). It’s not terrible—Hartley’s writing is solidly mediocre—it’s just pointless.

Arcudi scripts the Glack strip for Blickenstaff. Considering it’s two lines of dialogue, not sure why it needed a separate writer.

Then Ghost continues. Baker and Kolle’s art is crisp, but Luke is trying to write her as a pulp hero. It doesn’t work out.

CREDITS

Aliens vs. Predator, The Web, Part One; story by Ian Edginton; art by Derek Thompson and Brian O’Connell; lettering by Clem Robins; co-edited by Philip D. Amara. Shabrken, Dark Exorcism, Part Two; story by Mark Henry and Welles Hartley; pencils by Henry; inks by Gary Lieber; lettering by Amador Cisneros. Glack; story by John Arcudi; art by Stephen Blickenstaff. Ghost, The Woes of Sinful Bachelors, Part Two; story by Eric Luke; pencils by H.M. Baker; inks by Bernard Kolle; lettering by Steve Haynie. Edited by Randy Stradley and Adam Gallardo.

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