Dark Horse held the Predator license for 30 years (give or take a few years) – from the late 80s until more recently, when the rights transferred to Marvel. This was following parent company Disney having acquired 20th Century Fox, the distributor of the Predator movies.

Dark Horse never had an ongoing Predator series; rather, they’d frequently release new mini-series as often self-contained – though with an ongoing continuity, for the most part – stories.

Importantly, these all – aside from the very first mini-series – had some form of subtitle to distinguish them. Predator: Big Game, Predator: Hell & Hot Water (one of my all time favourites) and Predator: Primal are just three examples.

Yet Marvel are opting for what always turns out to be a much more confusing approach – and something they’re already doing with their Alien series; just relaunching with a new number one and no subtitle.

Which makes this the second Predator #1 in less than a year. From a business perspective, the idea is that new readers won’t be intimidated and will take this to be a perfect opportunity to jump on board, but in reality it will inevitably lead to more confusion.

However, questionable business practices and numbering aside, this is a really strong opening issue for the second Predator story arc.

Taking more than a little inspiration from 2010 movie Predators, this issue hits the ground running (pretty much literally) as people are dropped out of the sky one by one – and have to immediately run for their lives. Hunted by the very familiar aliens, there’s much more to them being dropped into an alien game reserve than meets the eye.

There’s a lot to like here; the breathless action, surprisingly brutal art and a pretty unexpected body count too. Not only that, but the set up becomes more and more intriguing as the issue heads towards its climax and another familiar face or two dropping onto the story.

The art, though clearly different in style to the first Predator series, is fantastic and nicely stylised, once more staying away from the awkward attempts at photo realism and stiff poses that has plagued most of the Alien stories so far.

So it’s off to a really strong start – and, given that Ed Brisson was also on writing duties for the first series, as he is here, I have faith that it’ll continue to reach the high bar set by this opening issue.

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