‘The Predators are back, only this time their hunting ground isn’t the tropical jungles of South America — it’s the concrete and street jungles of New York City! It’s the hottest summer on record, and Detective Schaefer suspects that his brother’s disappearance is somehow tied to the wave of gruesome murders plaguing New York!’
Following the success of the original Predator film Dark Horse were quick to try and cash in on the popularity and created a comic that would become an unofficial sequel before Danny Glover took the spotlight in Predator 2.
Set in New York City, the story was originally set to focus on Alan ‘Dutch’ Schaefer, Schwarzeneggar’s character from the first film, who had gone on to become a cop. The lead character was altered to Detective Schaefer, Dutch’s brother.
Fighting against gangs during the worst heatwave the city has ever seen, Schaefer comes up against the deadly alien hunter, and finds himself drawn into the secrets behind his brothers disappearance years earlier.
It’s easy to see the similarities between this book and the second Predator film; the shift from the jungles of South America to a US city, focusing on a police officer, setting the story amid gang wars in a heatwave, it’s all here. Where Predator 2 had a completely new cast and almost no connection to the first film outside of some nods in dialogue, Predator: Concrete Jungle feels like a true sequel.
READ MORE: The Predator – Film Review
Detective Schaefer (we never learn his first name) has a drive and desire to find his brother, something that even takes him to the jungles of Val Verde to see the aftermath of Dutch’s fight with the Yautja hunter. It’s this desire to find out what happened to his brother that drives the main plot, that keeps bringing him into contact with the Yautja, as well as butting heads with Dutch’s old commander General Phillips (also from the first film).
The book combines the personal story with a number of action set pieces, mixing together gun fights, fist fights with the Yautja in the jungle and an all out war with an alien army in the streets of New York. Writer Mark Verheiden manages these multiple set pieces well, keeping a balance between character and story development with the expected level of action.
The art by Chris Warner and Ron Randall is superb throughout, capturing the grim and gritty feel of the Predator universe whilst staying bright and colourful enough not to feel too depressing or drab. Dark Horse have some great artists on their payroll, and Predator: Concrete Jungle was big book with some of its best artist working on it; and it really shows even close to 30 years later.
The only real part of the book that lets it down is the conclusion, where the Yautja army appears to be defeated by some summer rain. It’s a misstep, but one that doesn’t take too much away from the overall quality of the book.
Predator: Concrete Jungle was the first comic set within the Predator universe, and shows how to go about creating a sequel in such a way that it’s clear Predator 2 took a lot of inspiration from the book. A must read for any Predator fan, the original sequel is still a great read.