Anyone who read Dark Horse Comics‘ Predator series (1989-2020) will be familiar with where Prey is headed. The thought of sending one of these hunters to Earth’s distant past is nothing new, and I’ve read enough of this run to know those times where they’ve intruded upon the past, ranging from 1718 to WW1, is often a bloodbath. No matter which civilization they meet, making peace with this alien species is nearly impossible.
In one corner of the confrontation is the said Predator and the other, a Comanche tribe. Caught in the crossfire are French fur traders, and I had to chuckle. The era this tale is set in is sometime during colonisation, and the land is more than a little wild. Its downright dangerous, as viewers will soon discover. Sometimes, these tales involve two differenct factions having to work together to succeed, but when we’re dealing with a franchise dealing with people dying, nobodhy is going to win! Fans must not forget the Predator usually makes situations worse for the heroes. They are often dealing with other threats and to save their own skin is the least of their worries!
For example, the first motion picture that started it all was a rescue mission. It introduced Dutch Schaefer, and his special elite force to go save a foreign official kidnapped by insurgents.ts. Curiously, CIA agent Dillon tasked to oversee this operation, seems to know more but he doesn’t tell anyone what to expect. Sadly, that operation fell apart when they discover another team sent in is dead. The second involved a gang war, where detective Danny Archuleta discovers the added hazard is sort of doing his job. He should be thankful but is not. In the sweltering heat of Los Angeles, there’s another hunter in the midst doing this cop’s job, and he should be thankful. Instead, what he gets as a reward is this film’s best Easter Egg. That gun given to Danny makes it’s cameo, and I hope it will appear again. I suspect its role will be similar to Dead Man’s Gun.
In the third film, the species is finally implicated as the big nasty, and the last two movies show humanity trying to fight back. I’m glad the prior works changed things up. To establish the predator as a main instead of side villain is key to maintaining this franchise’s longevity. Even though they depended on viewers knowing the cinematic universe, the latest entry, Prey, doesn’t depend on it.
Here, Naru (Amber Midthunder) wants to show she’s just as skilled at hunting and fighting. But in a male dominated society, that’ll be tough. After getting food, she notices that there’s a greater menace afoot, and nobody in her tribe believes her claims bigfoot is around. And in order to avoid becoming the prey, she better outsmart her predator! Yes, that includes her captors too. Prey is beautiful to take on the same visual beats as the first movie, and pretty soon, I had to wonder how can this young woman can kill the giant without modern weapons?
Dan Trachtenberg‘s direction develops this suspense in slow, measured steps, and the ideas he and Patrick Aison put into the film will satisfy long time fans. One detail I’m surprised they did not offer is a chance at finally naming the species. It’s never been done before in the films, and in the comic books, they’re known as the Yautja. I can see some Native American tribe giving them a name, and it’s a detail I wish was done so fans don’t have to depend on the comics (or searching Google) to give them an identity, other than the Predator.
It’s safe to say there’ll be more comic books to come. Sadly, I’m not happy Marvel Comics is taking over. Dark Horse Comics nailed the right concept, and without Chris Warner involved, I don’t think the stories to come will have the same passion to broaden the lore.
4 Stars out of 5