Carl joins the hunt to review the superb Predator Omnibus from Nathan Archer and Titan Books
Picking up this book, I was interested in what it contained inside. The thing is, the book is a novelized version of the Dark Horse comic book stories. Usually, I steer clear of those kinds of things as sometimes, they come across as inferior or childish versions of some classic graphic novels. But I’m that much of a Predator fan that I decided to take the plunge and buy the book. I figured if I didn’t enjoy it, I could donate it to the local charity shop and be rid of it. Well, it turns out that the charity shop WON’T be accepting this from me included in my next donation as the book is just too much damn fun. It may help if you’ve read the graphic novels before picking the novel up first but if you haven’t, then it isn’t an issue as once you start to read the three stories within, you’ll be hooked.
The Complete Predator Omnibus | By Nathan Archer
The first two stories are both by Nathan Archer and follow on from each other. The first, ‘Concrete Jungle’ has a certain ‘Predator 2‘ feel to it from the off. If you remember the movie, you’ll be reminded of the battles and deaths which featured in it. The same kind of action and violence is present here but it is enjoyable and exciting to read. And when you realize that the main character, Schaeffer is the brother of the original movie’s ‘Dutch’ Schaeffer, then you’ll instantly pay more attention to it. Both brothers are made from exactly the same mold, tough as nails, uncompromising, and with a certain lack of humility and humanity on display. But the book has a little in-joke contained within and you’ll know it when you read it. It also benefits from the inclusion of General Phillips, the grizzled army man from the start of the original ‘Predator‘ movie.
The story is simple. Schaeffer and his partner, Rasche are told to stay away from a massacre inside a tenement building in New York. Of course, Schaeffer ignores the order and goes in anyway. He is confronted with a scene of complete carnage, bullet casings everywhere, large holes in the wall, and the minor inconvenience of several skinned and hanging bodies swinging from the rafters. The Feds lock the building down, much to Schaeffer’s annoyance. But things take a nasty turn when the Police shooting range is targetted, almost every person inside is killed except for one man who wasn’t armed at the time of the attack and is spared. Now it is personal. After Schaeffer is attacked by the Predator when he breaks into the tenement building looking for clues and is tagged by the creature, it launches him into a full-scale personal war which will take him from the streets of New York back to the Central American jungle where his brother defeated the very first Predator and back again.
The second story ‘Cold War’ takes place six months after the end of ‘Concrete Jungle’. This time, the Predator‘s crash land their ship in Siberia near a Russian oil pipeline. When the team investigating are almost all killed, the U.S discover that a large Radiation signature has shown up on their satellite images. The top brass realizes that the creatures are back once more and decide to investigate the crash themselves in an attempt to capture the Predator technology and to keep it from falling into Russian hands. The Feds and army capture Schaeffer and force him to take part in their mission, which is once again led by General Phillips. The oil station itself is attacked, the whole Russian engineering crew is massacred and tensions rise between the Russian military stationed there and the American team that has entered Siberia on their mission. Before long, both sides realize they have a common enemy and have to work together to defeat the creatures and to save their own skins.
The third story ‘Big Game’ has nothing to do with the first two stories contained within the book but stands on its own feet with merit. It is written by ‘Sandy Schofield’ who is, in reality, the pen name for husband and wife writing team Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. The story goes like this. In the New Mexico desert, a Predator has arrived, landing his craft and starting out on its hunting expedition. A Navajo soldier, Corporal Enoch Nakai has been denied his three day pass from the base in the desert once again due to the hatred of him by his commanding officer. Forced to go on tank duty with his only friend, Nakai encounters the creature. His best friend is killed by the Predator, forcing Nakai to run for his life. Upon reaching his base again, Nakai finds that the creature’s ship has been discovered and taken away for examination by the military. After another two soldiers are killed while out looking for the remains of Nakai’s friend, Nakai is given his three-day pass to get him out of the way in case the Predator comes looking for him. While he is off base, the ship explodes, destroying the army base entirely and killing everyone stationed there. The creature continues on with its killing spree all the while Nakai has returned to the desert to speak with the men in charge of investigating the base tragedy in an attempt to hunt down and kill the invading creature. But it stands to reason that Nakai will have to face down the Predator alone and take on the alien one on one.
All three stories have the reader hooked from the start and it takes a lot to actually put the book down. It is a real page-turner and the reader finds themselves unable to just stop reading. Thet have to find out what’s going to happen next. And that is the masterstroke of a great author. All three writers have created a volume that contains three exciting and involving stories and all three have done their homework and use facts and situations from Predator lore to further the stories they present us to great effect. Any Predator fan who reads the book will nod and smile knowingly at the nods to the franchise that is contained amongst the text. The description of events and characters is extremely fulfilling and leaves the reader wanting more. In fact, straight after finishing the book, I was looking around to find more stories from all three authors as my appetite for their work was whetted reading this incredibly enjoyable volume.
Do yourself a favor. Grab yourself a copy, unplug the phone, find a nice quiet spot and allow yourself to be taken on a violent, bloodthirsty ride through New York, Central America, Siberia, and finally New Mexico alongside the greatest hunter of them all.
The Complete Predator Omnibus is published by Titan Books and is available to buy now!
The Future of the Force. The future of pop culture writing.
Carl Roberts is a Senior Staff Writer and Books and Literature Correspondent for The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter @CarlRoberts2 where he uses the force frequently!