Reading this story it’s eerily familiar. Whether the writer Mark Verheiden knew it or not while he was putting this story together for release in June 1989 (17 months before the theatrical release of the Predator 2 film) he was writing basically the same story just on a different coast.
Predator two, you’ll recall, centers on an unseasonably warm summer in Los Angeles where several police officers are involved in tracking down a killer who’s taking out groups of gang bangers and drug lords.
Lets switch coasts and head to New York where a different group of cops are dealing with a heat wave of their own and low-and-behold a Predator is taking out drug lords and gang bangers. The twist? The main cop, Schaefer, has a brother named Dutch.
If that name rings a bell then you’ve already groaned at the realization that they’re trying to tie this book to the original film; and they do more than that. At one point Schaefer heads down to Columbia and magically finds (in the huge jungle) the spot where his brother was last known to be.
This book was disappointing for a number reasons:
It fails to really create any suspense and the initial image of the Predator standing over a beaten Schaefer falls flat as instead of killing the defeated foe and claiming his prize the alien sticks an apparent tracking device in Schaefer’s neck. Why? He already fought him and beat him. Did the Predator somehow sense the human’s innate abilities and felt the fight was less-than it could have been?
As these stories often do, they try too hard to bring in the human element to make the reader supposedly care about the characters. In this case Schaefer’s partner is constantly inner-monologing about hot he needs to get out of this job and retire somewhere safe with his wife and kids…which we only see very, very briefly. Again, this aspect falls flat due to failing to create any genuine reason why I would care about this character.
In the third act Schaefer is in Columbia where he once again faces the Predator in a fight. This sequence is far too short, especially considering so much time is spent on the travel to the area where the battle occurs. The Predator, predictably, dies but as a twist the death of this one alien apparently upsets the balance of some deal the Government had previously made with the intergalactic hunters and all hell breaks lose.
The conclusion of the story is contrite and lacking any reality (yes, I know it’s a comic but there’s still standards).
I would recommend skipping this very early Dark Horse book and read some of the later works which are much better, especially the Alien/Predator series’.
This is your Bin Fodder guru, Tim Blacksmith, signing off.