The bout to knock the other guy out
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Mon, 1 August 2005
by: Australian Ninja
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At night the shadows come alive in Gotham city. There's a new threat in Gotham and you better not get in its way.
Batman versus Predator is a comic that some may dismiss because the idea seems silly. In actuality, it is a comic-book with extraordinary production values. It fits in well with both the Batman comics and Predator films.
To me this is an exciting comic book and it tells a story that could never work as well in any other medium. Batman versus Predator combines not only the worlds of two fictional characters but also crosses the mediums of film and sequential art.
If you get excited by the thought of Muhammad Ali versus George Foreman, Superman versus the Incredible Hulk, Bruce Lee versus Chuck Norris or Hulk Hogan versus The Rock, then you will understand why I must re-read this comic every year or so. Batman has featured in numerous comic-book crossovers during his reign. A few are worthy reads, most are forgettable. Some are just plain awful and more useful as bonfire fuel than reading material. Fortunately Batman versus Predator is one of the few worthy of your attention.
An invisible killer is on the loose in Gotham city. He's slaughtering the good and not-so-good people of Gotham like there's no tomorrow. This killer is more than your garden-variety loopy Batman villain and Jim Gordon is clueless what to do. So, when an alien hunter is running amuck in your hometown what do you do? You call Batman.
The Predator may be hell strong and vicious but he made one big mistake. He chose the wrong city to go hunting in. This city belongs to the Dark Knight, the self appointed protector of Gotham.
You know, Bruce Wayne - that perfectly sane obsessive millionaire orphan who lives in a giant mansion and dresses up as a bat at night time - that guy. Did I mention he's also a survivalist, hand-to-hand combat expert and the world's greatest detective? I think I mentioned that part. Which is important because when the predator leaves in its wake a trail of headless corpses strung up in leftover fishnet stockings all over the show, those detective skills will come in handy.
One of the great things about Batman versus Predator is that in addition to being a cool concept, it contains dirty artwork by Andy Kubert and a satisfying story by Dave Gibbons. When I say dirty, the art is gritty and dark. The colouring is muddy with brown overtones that lend an 'old crime movie' feel to the comic. Seeing the usual gaudy superhero colours in this comic would have done neither character justice. Batman is drawn so that he looks suitably dark and scary.
The Predator is dark, ugly and just plain frightening, as he deals out lashings of ultra-violence. He makes Batman look like a Boy Scout by comparison. The mafia goons who laughably shoot at the predator don't last too long. Neither do the police; the predator cuts them up like a hot knife through butter.
The realism in this comic I really love. What if, Batman went hand-to-hand with a Predator? Realistically what would happen? Think about that for a moment before you read on. Ask yourself, are there martial arts / combat moves that will work on any opponent regardless of size or strength? Yes? Well, would those same moves work on a 400-pound Gorilla? The kind that could literally tear off one of your limbs at his leisure, then casually throws you away like a football using just one arm? Then ask yourself what could the dark knight do in an unarmed fight against a Predator, who would be stronger than that gorilla. The answer, not a damn thing!
The result is that Batman gets his ass handed to him and barely escapes with his life in this macabre tale. What is satisfying about seeing Batman beaten to a bloody pulp, almost helpless and teetering on unconsciousness - what is satisfying is that here is a challenge worthy of the unrelenting determination of the Batman.
The predator alone is almost more than Batman can handle. But he has other problems. After investigating the string of murders by the "invisible slasher" he winds up bed-ridden temporarily blind with "deep puncture wounds, extensive lacerations, third degree burns and severe concussion." The words of a doting Alfred. No matter how often he wrinkles his brow Alfred cannot keep Bruce Wayne in bed for long. I won't ruin the story by giving too much away. Let's just say that not too many crime fighters could go up against the Predator and survive. Then go back to their day job of punching crims square on the jaw while simultaneously keeping the Arkam Asylum loony bin in business. Let's just say Batman is one tough bastard and leave it at that.
Overall, this is a great work of comic-book fiction. It does fall into the superhero category, though not in the usual mould. It comes to us from the good people at DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. This is not Shakespeare or Hitchcock so don't expect it to be. What it is, is a fun violent and very bloody comic-book. It's an enthralling read from beginning to end. It emulates the best qualities of a Batman comic and a Predator film. I pity the fool who doesn't get excited about that.
by: Australian Ninja
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