The final issue of Predator: Fire and Stone is here and that means it’s time for the one thing we’ve all been licking our filthy, mottled mandibles for: hot Predator vs. Engineer action.
Who ya got? Is it good?
Predator: Fire and Stone #4 (Dark Horse Comics)
First off, I’m digging the homage to the original Alien vs. Predator cover on this issue’s cover.
Second, if you couldn’t tell from the multiple theories I proffered with the fervor of a prime-time boxing analyst on how the fight would go down in my last review, Predator: Fire and Stone #4 had me amped.
As far as anticipation for fictitious slugfests go, Predator vs. Engineer ranks right up there for me alongside Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI and Mayweather vs. Pacquiao. It was one of the first thoughts rattling around my skull after seeing Prometheus in theaters: could an experienced Predator, the type we saw in the first film or like Wolf from AvP: Requiem take out an Engineer? After the way Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone left a sour taste in my mouth, I was praying writer Joshua Williamson kept up his impressive pace and delivered in the finale.
In many ways, he does. Dreadlocks get pulled. Enormous, bald-egg looking craniums get gashed. Freaky looking blood erupts from ungodly wounds. This is a vicious battle that takes up a decent chunk of the issue and Chris Mooneyham’s scratchy, thick-inked pencils and fluid choreography carry us through blow by brutal blow with savvy. (The close-ups of the characters shrieking in pain after decisive shots are especially tasty.) Fans of the either sci-fi entity should be well-sated by the fight, especially since we get to see more than just straight-up slobberknockin’ and actual application of battle tactics from both sides. I was hoping to see more of the Engineer’s tech than just his overpowered bio-armor and I’m not sure how exactly how Ahab was able to claim an Engineer spine after his self-destruct device went off (I’m thinking the carcass would have been a little too crispy for that), but all in all, enjoyable stuff.
What’s more impressive is the characterization Williamson conveys through the brutality, including the defining moments for the series’ uneasy human/Yautja alliance. Was Galgo only helping Ahab because he was forcefully tethered to his arm? Would he tuck tail and run to save his own cowardly ass as Ahab and the Engineer fought to the death? Would Ahab feel betrayed if he did? The fact that Williamson had me hankering for the answers to these questions, as well as had a lifelong Predator fan empathizing with a Predator more than ever before is a testament to the solid research and rich development he put into our protagonists.
Is It Good?
Predator: Fire and Stone satisfies on every level and is a must-have for any serious Predator fan. The series provides one of the most fully-realized Predator characters in recent memory, whose awesome synergy with Galgo powers the narrative to damn-near addictive degrees.
My clear-cut favorite of all the Fire and Stone offerings and a strong lead-in to the upcoming Prometheus: Fire and Stone — Omega.