This has been an interesting week for AvP fans when two of the latest minis are releasing their last issue. Of the three? Predator: Hunters is the one I couldn’t help but look forward to most because this story gives you characters you can invest in, and enemies who aren’t so forgettable for the impact they have on us and these characters.
From the start of this final issue, we quite literally jumped back into the fire. For a Black Ops team, I loved the challenge that they faced against the Predator. It made such a big difference to see these guys who thought they were unstoppable because they had the numbers, assumption of knowledge on the enemy and the funded armory. Unfortunately, all of those things meaningless when you lack the actual experience of squaring off against a Predator. I would say that a botched ambush was a heck of an understatement for these guys upon realizing that they were beaten from the very start. With that said, their standoff and desperate retreat was thrilling for what they were willing to throw at this enemy as a last stand.
The suspense for the rest of the Hunters had a great build-up to it because they on the other hand knew what they were getting themselves into. That of course didn’t change the fear created from the slaughter of the Black Ops team that has occurring at the same time. Adding the suspicions of the kid as well was a good touch since this is one of those times where you prepare yourself for the unexpected. I would like to also give credit to this creative team because they found a way to use a kid in a horror-like story that wasn’t cliche. Atal was standout for the little things he brought to the table without being in the way. Not a direct knock to Aliens: Dust to Dust which also releases this week, but that is usually a negative for the kind of product we tend to receive.
When the time came for the Hunters to confront the Predator, that was where things got a bit more exciting. The other soldiers served their purpose for slaughter that didn’t come with caring for the outcome, but this is where everything mattered, and it mattered who could be lost. Especially since we are led to believe that by the end of this confrontation the Hunters will deal with a painful parting. This part was engaging because the creative team made sure to show the experience that these Hunters have in contrast. How they brought this to a close took some thinking outside the box, but it was clever nonetheless for the execution. You knew what was coming when an actual plan was set in motion, and everything from there was getting us to that point while drumming up that one heroic act that would change everything.
As for this unexpected reunion? A great surprise considering who was lost before that point. The bit of hype they gave towards this was satisfying since the end of one chapter has become the start of something new to anticipate.
This issue gave us without a doubt the most impressive artwork from this art team for Part II. Their combined work popped out to me from the first page. You had the explosiveness of the Black Ops soldiers throwing everything at the Predator, and you had the Predator throwing the same firepower back at them. Menon’s colors really set the stage throughout this issue when it every blast and explosion came off so real. Not only that, this was handled so well without distracting us from what was going on in the moment. I don’t think there was one effect that obstructed our view of key moments. They only improved them. Especially when it came to using more advanced tech, such as night-vision and what not. As for Padilla’s pencils, overall excellent effort that he put into the details. Whether it was the gritty overlay on top of the characters or the harshness of the landscape, this felt like a last-stand situation. His choice of roughness was right on the spot for setting the atmosphere.
With the end of Predator: Hunters #4, we now have two memorable stories told for these characters. This is not a series to sleep on when jumping into a story where the hunters are the prey. These Hunters jump into the fire to fight things that in other stories would simply slaughter unsuspecting humans. What better way to shake things up than to put together a team that has had enough of their existence on Earth? That is what Part I and II have given us and much more!