Written by Ryan Venson The thing about comic book adaptations of movies is they are almost always terrible. Companies aren’t trying to sell you an ongoing series, just an issue or two, and you are buying the issue based on a name instead of hoping for a quality product. You might see an adaptation of “Die Hard” or “Under Siege” and think, “Kick-ass!” only to open it and find out Jon Bogdanove did the pencils.
Fuck I hate Jon Bogdanove.
Considering how terrible the actual film “Predator 2” was, I couldn’t imagine the 2-issue comic being anything more than a festering pile of dung. Hippopotamus dung. And boy did what I get defy all expectations. I mean that statement seriously. No sarcasm intended. Really.
This is one of the, if not the, best comic book adaptation I have ever seen.
The adaptation sticks close to the root of the film, including all the important scene, dialogue and plot points. And, most surprisingly, the art doesn’t completely blow. Hey look, it’s the scene at the beginning of the film I was relentlessly mocking in my film portion of the review!
Although after he sneaks up on the dealers here he yells , “Surprise, Muchachos!” instead of “Hey assholes!”
Published by Dark Horse Comics, the mini-series doesn’t lack on gore and even throws in a couple expletives, but the film was simply expletive LACED. Let’s not forget this is the movie that gave us one of the finest pieces of dialogue ever to be uttered on the silver screen: After Harrigan (Danny Glover) is told he has to cooperate with special agent Keyes (Busey) in any further drug trafficking investigating, Harrigan replies, “Which means you’re cutting off my dick and shoving it up my ass.”
Here’s an entire page taken from issue one, penciled by Dan Barry with colors by Lurene Haines. Notice how much Glover actually looks like Glover. Pretty impressive. But the guy in the top left panel knocking on the door? That’s supposed to be GARY BUSEY. And the guy in the bottom left corner who looks like he’s about to be eaten by a giant Danny Glover head? That’s supposed to be BILL PAXTON.
I mean, look at that guy! He’s a walking caricature! You have got to come harder than that Dan Barry! This guy looks 100% more like 1990 Corbin Bernsen than he does 1990 Gary Busey.
This reason I make a point to mention the colorist is because it nearly ruins the book. Seriously. The art is above average for a movie adaptation, and then the colorist comes in and slops it on. Look at the above panels. In panel three, Keyes’ face is pink and white with purple blotches. Did he just get in a fight? There are a number of panels throughout where it looks as
though Harrigan is wearing lipstick. There appears to be some kind of backwards shading. Look at the coats on these panels. Keyes’ coat is green, but why is there so much white in it? Same with all the clothes throughout. In some places it looks like the colorist had troubles staying “in the lines,” almost like those old paint with water books I was so fond of when I was five. Why can’t anything just be a solid color?
Paint with Water.......Go-Bots? I don't remember ANYBODY collecting Go-Bots. I collected He-Man and GI Joe and Thundercats, and lots of people collected Transformers and Star Wars figures, and maybe even some collected MASK or Sectaurs or something. But Go-Bots? NOBODY.
Back on subject.....it all works well enough despite my couple minor complaints and, in a bit of a surprise, a totally different team created the second issue, including Mark Bright pencils and Monika Livingston colors. Bright penciled a number of comics in the early 90s, including the stretch run of one of my favorite comics, Power Man & Iron Fist, so the art is on point, just different. The first issue took pains to look and feel realistic, but the second looks and feels much more like a comic. There’s totally nothing wrong with this shift in tone, especially as the pencils are still above average and the colors are infinitely better.
Here’s half a page, mirroring the scene I captured for the review of the film. It still looks enough like Glover, but look how much cooler he looks in a nice suit and without a hat. As a matter of fact, the comic sticks painfully close to the movie, but almost every scene seems better suited to be a comic book illustration. For instance, this scene where the
Predator rips out Lambert’s (Paxton) spine. More colorful, more exciting, more explicit than the film. I’m not sure if the correct onomatopoeia for spine-yanking is skriiiiich but, then, I have never torn somebody’s spine straight from their back. Yet.
And this scene, as Harrigan chases down the Predator even makes more sense. Instead of just falling down a hole in an elevator shaft for a giant wtf, he chases it in to a sewer, which is marginally less nonsensical. And look at panel six. The Alien skull!
In the end this adaptation hits all the important parts, large and small, of the film; it’s drawn well and is much more concise, and you don’t have to waste an hour and a half of your life for scenes where Glover yells at Busey or Busey yells at Glover or Maria Conchita Alonso grabs Paxton by the package and threatens to rip off his balls. A superior product to the film in almost every aspect.
I PAINTED THESE MYSELF!!