Monday, 12 January 2015

Batman Vs Predator Review (Dave Gibbons, Andy Kubert)

I mention a couple spoilers in the review but here’s the only spoiler you need to know: this comic is pants! 

This is gonna be an unpopular opinion (what’s new?) but the first Predator movie sucked. I’ve seen it twice now, ten years apart just in case it was an age thing, and hated it both times. It’s boring. Actors who can’t act go into a jungle and are repetitively hunted by an alien until Ahnuld kills the alien. Snore. But a lot of people liked it and a lot of people like Vs comics, especially in the early 90s, so we got Batman Vs Predator which swaps out Ahnuld and the jungle for Batman and Gotham City. And somehow it’s even more boring! 

The plot? It’s the title. There’s some nonsense about prizefighters and the mob but it’d be a waste of time attempting to describe it because it doesn’t matter. It’s just there to fill up space in between the fight scenes of Batman vs Predator that bookend the story. Ditto the “investigation” Gordon conducts with the GCPD which is really them showing up at one murder scene after another and asking himself where Batman is. Yeah, great “story”, Dave Gibbons - I think I know why you’re more known for your art than your writing! 

Predator is probably the best-liked non-character in pop culture. He’s weird looking with dreadlocks and that face, a cool shoulder-mounted cannon, and he can cloak, but he’s not really a character - he’s just an unstoppable killing machine. Batman’s a great character though he’s out of most of the book in a full-body cast after his first encounter with Predator (Batman spent a lot of time severely laid up in the early ‘90s didn’t he?). 

The film may have been crap but the ending isn’t all bad and Ahnuld beat the Predator using his wits (and by “his” I mean his character - Ahnuld himself would’ve been dead a long time before the end!). Batman? Despite being written as clever and resourceful (in other Batman books) and he’s in Gotham City, the one place in the world he knows better than anywhere, with all of his gadgets at his disposal, Bruce’s “plan” involves hitting Predator with a baseball bat (Bat-Man, geddit, HARHAR....!). He doesn’t even fully defeat him - Predator’s people show up and kill him at the end! Rubbish! 

Alright, I laughed at the baseball bat. You do get to see Batman and Predator throw hands in an epic final battle and I wasn’t expecting that but still. It seemed very stupid. Unless this was all an elaborate joke for Dave Gibbons to build up to a pun? If so, bravo sir. And you are crazy. 

Like a lot of Batman comics from this era, Gibbons deploys the “news reader as Greek chorus” to get across large chunks of pointless information. It’s so tiresome to read this crap writing in this way - I hope to never see a newsreader telling us what we already know in a story ever again. Also Gibbons gives Predator dialogue in this book but when its so redundant - “kick butt”, “gonna get you”, “son of a…” - you might as well have him silent like in the movie. I mean, what does that non-dialogue tell us about the character? Oh right, nothing! 

I suppose Andy Kubert’s art is alright though he completely flubs the Predator’s cloak. Rather than blending into his surroundings, Predator is a bright white opaque silhouette, a look that couldn’t be less suited to dark, dark Gotham City - he’s like a walking Christmas tree! Also Adam Kubert won an Eisner for his inking in this book but I’m not seeing anything special on the pages here. Then again I’m no expert so maybe it’s brilliant in a way I’m missing. 

I really wanted to say Batman Vs Predator was a fun, silly crossover but it’s not. I can’t think of a single redeeming quality to it. Even the Batman Vs Spawn crossover, as bad as it was, had a hilarious final page! This one? Well, I can see why it’s out of print. Like everything the Predator’s in, Batman Vs Predator is commercial garbage.

Batman Vs Predator

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