Monday, January 30, 2012

THE COMICS THAT MADE ME A FAN: Batman vs Predator Vol1 #1-3

It's hard to believe today that anything ever came as a surprise on the newstand, but the first volume of Batman vs Predator did. In fact it was such a surprise, it took the air outta your lungs like a swift kick to the cojones. It was unseen, unexpected and years on, it is still unbeaten.

For me, it was a Saturday in 1991 and after a few chores my cousin and I had been given twenty dollars each by our grandparents to go into town. Unbeknown to and unguided by adults, we spent all forty of it a few steps inside Rotorua's CBD, at the local spacie parlour.

Feeling pretty chuffed at our resulting team shoot-em up high-score, we slipped next door for a quick look at what Darkhawk, Gambit and Iron Man were up to before heading home. When we looked down and saw Batman vs Predator Vol1 #1 looking up at us and no money to buy it with, we both instantly cursed.

Big Predator fans, we sat down and read the first issue, not moving until we were done. Fast forward a few years and my now collected edition of the same three part mini-series holds such a pride of place, it was the first comic I packed when I moved to Australia.

Before regular inter-company gigs hit, this joint effort by DC and Dark Horse hurled together two franchises you'd always wanted to see fight, with a collision better scripted than that of many of it's predecessors or successors combined (Thank you, Dave 'Watchmen' Gibbons).

Landing in the heart of Gotham, a lone Predator starts hunting his way through the city's 'champions', be they boxing heavyweights or the corrupt cops and mob bosses that bank roll them. As the murders mount, Batman hunts the hunter, manipulating and navigating his way through the resultant gang turf wars as he does so. 

Okay, so he isn't initially successful, however like any Batman tale worth it's salt, Commissioner Gordon comes to the fore here, proving why he's been comics greatest 'supporting character' for decades. With Bruce's bat-butt handed to him, it is Gordon the Predator starts to eye up as the closest rival to his newly captured throne.

Hospitalised but feared dead by the media, the Dark Knight hurries to compensate for his injuries before S.W.A.T. teams initiate a block by block sweep of the city, hoping to flush out the invisible killer. Compensation never a problem for a millionaire with a penchant for utility belts, Gotham's remaining finest are soon greeted by...

While the second round is more evenly matched then the first (heck even Alfred takes a crack) and it's no real surprise who wins out in the end, it's nice to see Batman's last weapon be a household item, wielded against an alien carrying an atomic bomb on his sleeve. 

Batman vs Predator  also introduced me to the stunning atmosphere and detail of Adam (inker and letterer) and Andy (penciller) Kubert. No one touches the camera angles the Kubert brothers can find in even the most obscure of moments and that sure was evident here. 

Not so infamous perhaps, the star of this hit book, colourist Sherilyn van Valkenburgh. The muddy blue hues she paints Gotham in, made this tussle filled title a better follow-up to the first Batman and Predator movies than the actual sequels that followed them!

While rematches between the two have merely served to milk more money from a cow that in it's original form is still prime beef, the main lesson learned from BvP Vol1 is; if you ever chuck your disposable income on anything, always check the comic shop first. 'Nuff said.

5 comments:

  1. Pensol7:56 am

    By far the best of the Predator crossovers.

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  2. Wasn't it Pensol, that same lightning in a bottle hasn't been caged since!

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  3. i was into comics before i read this mini-series but when i did i thought it was great. in fact, this was one of the best Batman stories i've ever read. it showed the Dark Knight at his best in terms of being a detective, scientist and fighter. i love how he used those wide spectrum tranqs on the Predator figuring that they would probably work since the Predator's blood was alien but still carbon based.
    Dan, did you see my video yet from the war zone that broke out in Oakland CA. last saturday? it hasn't been up on Youtube for a full 48 hours yet and it has almost 10,000 page views! somebody just left the following comment on it, it's funny as Hell!: "I could hear the drums building in the distance and it was seriously some Lord of the Rings shit"

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  4. Pensol7:44 am

    Oh, but you know what I really want to see? Predator vs Doom. It should take place entirely in and around his castle in Latveria, with absolutly no Squerrl Girl intervention allowed! Time for the Doctor to show off his badassery. Make it happen, Marvel!

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  5. You know who I want to see Predator fight Pensol? War Machine. Heck any of the Marvel Knights end of the Marvel U would be cool, especially Ghost Rider, Elektra and Cage. Maybe Doom could ride shotgun with Blaze.

    Dave yip saw the vid mate. Pretty crazy stuff thats for sure. Congrats on all the hits. As for BvP Ill be posting one of the 12 comics which made me a fan at the end of each month this year. Hope you like the others as much as you did this one!

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