In this review, I will talk about three separate adventures covering the duel between world’s greatest detective and the world’s greatest hunter.
“Batman versus Predator” (1991)
This first installment was published by Dark Horse in 1991. The plot focuses on the Predator as he hunts the most powerful people in Gotham. From the heavy weight boxing Gotham champion, through crime bosses to Commissioner Gordon … no one is safe. The art style is simply fantastic. Andy Kubert introduces a detail-oriented and dark pencil style which he uses to create images like never seen before. Kubert uses his style to bring specific things to your attention keeping the backgrounds beautiful at the same time. The story is brilliantly written by Dave Gibbons who does not follow the usual pattern. He keeps you guessing and being afraid that your favorite (main) characters may not make it to the end.
As you can probably see, this is “Better Than Sex!!!” I have read a lot of other stories, yet this is the one that I always like to come back to each time I get a chance.
“Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch” (1995)
This follows the usual path of a sequel: everything is bigger but not necessarily better. The story revolves around the Predator returning to Gotham to fight the beast his clan knows as the Batman. A crime boss (who is being hunted by the Bat and the Huntress) makes Batman’s job harder by acquiring the talents of world’s greatest assassins to kill the Dark Knight. The art style of Paul Gulacy and Terry Austin is a big change. Think of the art style in the first BvP as the dark style of the movie “Alien” where you see only what you need to see and the art style of this part as the one in “Aliens versus Predator” where all is visible to a naked eye. The writing, done by Doug Moench, unfortunately follows the art style in quality. It is good, it nicely tells the story, but it does not keep you in any suspense as you know who (and when) will die.
The verdict on BvP II is a low “Full Price.” Good, but fades when compared with the original.
“Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties” (1997)
Another hot summer in Gotham, another hunt. This time, Batman and Robin face of against a two-Predator team. There is no story here. The art (this time done by a Damaggio-Campanela team) is mediocre at best with a large number of inconsistencies (through the first half one of the Predators has only one arm and in the latter half he has both, for example). Unfortunately the same can be said about the story (Chuck Dixon). It feels like the writer tried to cover his sub-par job with guest appearances by Mr. Freeze and Catwoman (who has no business of being here). At the same time, there are no new significant characters introduced and Gordon shows up on one page. Only in the last act the images jump at you and the writing gets good as you finally start guessing who lives and who dies and what is this entire hunt about.
It feels like this is the same team that later wrote “Spiderman 3.” Only prior to writing the last quarter of this book they got their hands on the first BvP and decided to step up. If it was not for the ending it would be a low “Rental.” As it is, I give it a high “Rental.” If I would pay money for it I would be mad. But if a buddy would bring it for me to read I would not mind doing so.