‘Predator ships stream into Human space in unprecedented numbers. The Colonial Marines, controlled by Weyland-Yutani, respond to the incursion, thus entering the Rage War. This terrifying assault by the Yautja cannot go unchallenged, yet the cost of combat is high, Predators are master combatants, and each encounter yields a high body count. Then when Lt. Johnny Mains and his marines – the Voidlarks – enter the fray, they discover an enemy deadlier than any could imagine.’
Thanks to Dark Horse Comics the Predator and Alien series have become synonymous with each other, with dozens of comics, novels, games, and movies depicting the two iconic space monsters going up against each other. Predator Incursion is the first part of a novel trilogy that brings them together again, in a way that’s never been seen before.
Set long after the events of the Alien movies, over two hundred years after the events of Alien: Resurrection, things have changed dramatically in the AVP universe. Humanity has expanded further with new technology, though Weyland-Yutani is once again a controlling power. Humanity has encountered the Xenomorphs on multiple occasions, as well as the Yautja, and has developed new arms and armour to defend against these threats.
These changes are one of the first surprises in the new universe being crafted by writer Tim Lebbon, one where the Colonial Marines are no longer the ones on the back-foot, here they’re a very competent group that can take on Yautja and win. But Predator fans don’t need to worry about the Yautja being weakened by the increase in human technology, yes, the humans can kill them much easier, but the Yautja are still a formidable threat.
The first time we see a Yautja within the book they’ve already killed two of the Void-larks, the main group of marines we follow. Supposed to be the best train and best equipped soldiers humanity has, the Yautja are still able to hunt and kill them. The Yautja might not be able to kill as easily as we’ve seen in the past, but this just makes them more cunning and unpredictable than before.
When more and more Yautja begin appearing within human space, Weyland-Yutani task scientist Isa Palant, a Yautja specialist, to learn as much about them as possible. When a pair of Yautja arrive on the planet her and her colleague are on they become prey to the deadly aliens, but begin to make huge leaps in their study, unlocking the secrets of the Yautja language. This is one of the big moments of the book, as it allows the humans to learn that the increase in Yautja attacks is because they are fleeing their home space because of an even deadlier threat. Not only that, but the humans are able to use Palant and her studies to broker a truce with them.
Whilst we have seen small alliances between humans and Yautja in the past, usually due to humans proving their worth and honour in battle, here we have a species-wide alliance, complete with peace conference between Palant and the Yautja elder Kalakta. Palant’s story, and the insights into the Yautja she learns are always interesting, and gives the reader a look into the inner workings of the Predator society and in some cases even psychology.
These aren’t the only insights into the Yautja the book gives, however, as the earlier mentioned Void-larks are tasked with monitoring a Yautja habitat on the edge of human space, a mission that goes disastrously wrong when the Yautja begin to enter human space, causing the Void-larks ship to be destroyed and the marines stranded on the habitat.
Trapped on a Yautja habitat, the marines are forced to fight for survival as they make their way through an environment that no human has ever been in before. These moments are very tense, with the constant threat of sudden attack always hanging in the air. Unfortunately, things get worse for the marines when they learn that that habitat has been invaded by an army of modified Xenomorphs.
This is where things are interesting for this book, and the whole of the Rage War trilogy. The Xenomorphs have finally been turned into bio-weapons, as Weyland-Yutani have been wanting for centuries, but this time both the Yautja and Humanity are the targets. Enslaved by a faction of humanity that left human space centuries before, they’ve been turned into the perfect soldiers under the command of android generals. And now, those people discarded by humanity have come home looking for revenge.
Predator Incursion is the first part of a three book story, and as such leaves a lot of things open to be carried on, but it manages to still feel fairly self contained and satisfying in the events that take place.
Have you read Predator Incursion? What did you think? Let us know!