Welcome back to Rotten Ink. In this update we are going to take a look at aliens, you know, little green or grey men who travel around in outer space and beam us aboard their ships to be studied. I am going to review Dark Horse Comics first 4 issue mini series based on the film Predator; we will also break down Predator in film, video games and other media. But before we get into the ultimate hunter, we will take a look at Roswell, New Mexico and the 1947 UFO crash, and we will also talk about that mystery place known as Area 51 said to be where the government hides the UFO and aliens! So watch the skies and get your tin foil hat ready, ’cause we are going deep into space and looking for the truth about aliens!
In 1947, a U.F.O fell from the sky and crashed on a ranch in Roswell New Mexico. The flying saucer was banged up pretty bad when the ranch foreman William Brazel found the wreckage, and he and his son, not thinking much of it, cleared the debris. They only told of the wreckage after reports of a flying saucer being seen in the area and thought that what they cleaned up might just be that. Now here is where it all gets sticky, and many different reports and stories go around about it. What Brazel “found” was something made of paper and tough plastic or so it was said. Other stories claim that it was a full fledged spacecraft complete with bodies of aliens that had died from the impact. It’s said that the spacecraft and the bodies were shipped to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for study and that Hanger 18 is where they remain even to this day. The Air Force’s statement was that the wreckage was from a weather balloon that had crashed and was nothing for the public to worry about. Years later it was also reported that the wreckage was really a spy plane sent over from Russia that was shot down. The mystery of this event had made it the stuff of legend, and everyone who has ever looked into the event has a theory on what and how it came to be. I for one can see both sides; I can see it truly being a weather balloon that came crashing down, and in 1947 I am sure the sight of these balloons was not common at all. I could also see it being a Russian spy plane. At the time we were having a “Red Scare,” and both they and us wanted to get dirt and intel on the other side. But I can also REALLY see that if it was in fact a ship from outer space driven by little grey men, our government would indeed keep this info from us and study them to learn from what they know…so what do you readers think…was it a weather balloon? Was it a Russian spy plane? Or was it a U.F.O straight from outer space?
Nevada is the home of many great things such as Las Vegas, birth place to actresses like Dawn Wells, Jenny Lewis and Jenna Jameson and even Horror Host Zomboo but it also is the home of one of the world’s most puzzling places, a place that “doesn’t” exist according to our government. That place is Area 51! Not much is really known about this place but many stories are told of unknown planes in the sky around it, odd sounds and even claims that aliens work alongside humans inside its guarded walls. What is known is that you can’t cross a line on the ground and in the sky, and that the guards around the area have the right to shoot you dead. You can’t even takes photos of the area! So what is this place really? Many people say that it’s where the Air Force tests its new planes and drones and it’s all very top secret so the new weapons to keep us safe don’t fall into the hands of the wrong people. Others think that it’s a place where the government keeps aliens and makes contact with other worlds in order to get ideas for new technology. One thing is for sure, Area 51 is one big mystery that many Americans would love to find out it’s secrets, and who knows maybe someday we will. But it does make you wonder if they do have aliens there, are they willing guests or are they being held captive? Are they smart and nice or are they mean spirited and power hungry? I for one hope they are nice and are guests if they are indeed at Area 51.
Coast To Cast AM is one heck of a great radio program for those of us who like the unknown and conspiracies. From the start of the show you know you’re in for a treat as the theme for the film and the old NWA Wrestling Tag Team, The Midnight Express starts playing and your current host George Noory welcomes you to the show. I first heard of the radio show thanks to a co-worker at Blockbuster Video. I worked a lot of closes at the video rental store, and some nights before going home I would drive around the back roads of the countryside listening to music and unwinding from the long day, and they suggested that oe night I give Coast to Coast a listen because they knew I was into Bigfoot, werewolves, aliens and such. That night I gave it a listen and was hooked ever since. Back when I first heard it, the host was Art Bell who was hosting on the weekends and was the founder of this cool show. One episode of this show that has become the subject of many discussions is the one that focused on Area 51 where one of the call-in lines was for current or past employees of 51, and after a number of calls he got one that chilled the blood of many listeners and triggered a black out of the radio signal. The caller was a man who was in a panic and was a past employee who had been let go on a medical discharge. The man claimed he was fleeing from some unknown trackers; while on the phone he spilled his guts on what Area 51 really is. He claimed that it’s filled with inter-dimensional beings who are directly involved in our military and know about some major natural disaster events that are coming and will not warn us because they want many of the world’s population to be wiped out so that the ones of us around can be more easy to control. During the call the man gets more upset and more scared sounding and as he is telling us the listeners more, it sounds as if he has been found by his unknown stalkers and poof, the satellite that hosts Coast To Coast AM goes offline and the callers final words the listeners never get to hear. The show is off the air for over 2 minutes before coming back live, and Art seems puzzled and at a loss as he says that the man on the phone screamed and it sounded like a gun shot before the line went dead, and that the odd part of the satellite going down was it focused in the part that broadcasted his show! Callers after seemed to be bothered by the frantic call as past “employees” of Area 51 called in and claimed that no one will ever hear from that guy again. Now this call has been proven real and proven fake by many and is 100% up for you to make your own judgement. The first time I heard it, my skin crawled and thoughts about turning it into a movie crossed my mind. I for one think that there might be some truths to what he is saying about there being beings from another dimension here on Earth with us now. Some time later a caller called in and claimed to be the Frantic Caller and said his call was a hoax and that when the show went off the air he himself got scared and thought he might have been onto something with his fake story. Many think that this caller was the frantic caller, while once more others think the second caller was the hoaxer. So have you heard the call made to Art Bell? Do you think the call was real? Was it a hoax? No one will know for sure and it will remain a mystery just like Roswell and Area 51 itself.
If aliens are out there in space or even already here on Earth, Hollywood has taught us one thing, and that’s alien chicks are Hot!! Star Trek showed us green girls are sexy; Mars Attack showed us they can wear masks to make themselves stunning, and even genetic put together aliens like Sil from Species are knock outs. So here is to you, hot Hollywood alien women, for making the unknown sexy!
So you have gotten some brief history and thoughts on Area 51 and the crash at Roswell New Mexico; now it’s time to give you a little background on this update’s star, the Predator! Not much is really known about the Predators as we humans don’t even know what planet or universe they even come from. Such names as “Hish” and “Yautja” have been given to their race, but these are just names given to them by humans trying to place a label on them. Things we do know about them are this: 1st they can travel through space and seem to have very powerful ships, 2nd they have amazing weapons that are far more powerful than ours from stealth suits to an awesome shoulder cannon. They have the means to make things dead. 3rd they are very strong and have more strength than a human body builder making them a hard fight to go fist to fist with, 4th they love hot summers and heat, and lastly they are hunters and love to collect trophies (skulls) from the prey they hunt. The Predators have also fought with the Xenomorphs and have collected humans and other alien species to drop into a wooded planet to use as practice! While not much is known, one thing is for sure you don’t want to mess with a Predator!
Predator hit theaters in 1987 and is about Major Alan “Dutch” Schaefer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and his group of commandos who go to the jungles of South America on a bogus mission set up by George Dillon (Carl Weathers) who really wants them in the jungle to find a pod that fell from space! Dutch and his men soon find out that they are not alone as an unknown attacker is hunting and killing them one by one. Who will make it out of the jungle alive and can any of these hardened war hounds stand a chance against the Predator! Growing up I saw this film on HBO when my Dad let me and my brother watch it one late night. From the moment it started I loved it. I was glued to the action and suspense of the hunt. For days I wished that they had made action figures of this film so I could have The Predator hunt the likes of Snake Eyes and Han Solo. I bought the novel movie adaptation of the film from Half Price Books and was all about The Predator. The film did well at the box office with a gross of $98,267,558.00 worldwide. One of the best sci-fi films of the 80’s in my opinion, and with a creature design by Stan Winston Studio’s you know the film is quality.
1990 saw a sequel simply called Predator 2 hit the theaters, and this time around it’s taken out of the jungle and into the hot streets of LA. during a turf war over drug sales. Lieutenant Michael Harrigan (Danny Glover) is a good cop who along with his team are stuck in the middle of the war on drugs during a major heat wave and to make things worse something is killing both cartels as well as the cops themselves! And when one of his own cops is murdered and creepy Special Agent Peter Keyes (Gary Busey) has his agents take over the case, Harrigan must take the law into his own hands and find the truth of the murders. He ain’t going to like what he sees when it’s hunting season again, and a Predator is loose in the city! The sequel is good but not nearly as cool as the original, and I will say that I also went out and bought the novel adaptation of this film as well. The sequel made $57,120,318.00 gross at the worldwide box office, making it a solid money maker for Fox.
While The Predator shared the screen with the Aliens in two AVP films, it was not till 2010’s film Predators that we were treated to the third film in the series. In this film, a group of people wake up falling from the sky into a jungle like place; each of them comes from a different part of the world and they come from all walks of life, but all of them have some sort of violent past. Before they know it, they find out that they are no longer on Earth and are on some planet where they are being hunted like dogs by none other than The Predators! Twists and turns and lots of fighting to stay alive makes up this fun action film that brought in a gross of $127,233,108.00 world wide at the box office. I saw this film in the theater and loved it. It stars Adrien Brody, Topher Grace, Danny Trejo and Laurence Fishburne! If you have not seen this one, you should.
Besides the big screen, Predator also has hunted its way into the video game world and has had many titles come out on many different systems! Commadore 64, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, Game Boy, Sega Genesis, Xbox, PS2, Xbox 360, PS3 and even Atari Jaguar all have had games come out that featured The Predator. In fact, even an Arcade Game has been made! The one that sticks out the most to me was the one for Sega Genesis based on the film Predator 2. My cousins Dino and Norman had it, and we all took turns one night when I was spending the night trying our best to beat it. The game was pretty hard and was an overhead shoot em up game that as levels went on, the harder it became and of course you played as Harrigan. One of the most popular games based on Predator is the one that came out on PS2 and Xbox called “Predator: Concrete Jungle” where you play as the hunter and kill humans! Predator has been in some good games and some stinker games, but one thing is for sure, The Predator is a perfect character to make video games based around.
Predator has had more merchandise than just video games, comics and novels. Many great items have come out based around this character, from Halloween masks & costumes, t-shirts, posters, magazines, models, statues and of course action figures! The figures that most people remember are the ones made by Kenner in the 90’s. They made all types of versions, from the classic movie style one to ones with giant tusk. I had a few of these figures growing up and while they were cool, I always wanted a 3 ¾” figure…sadly that never happened until this year thanks to the ReAction figure line. Lost more figures were made by NECA and McFarlane, and these were great detailed figures meant for display on the older collectors’ shelves. So if you’re a fan of the character and looking for ways to collect all you can own, there is stuff out there for you that will for sure make the collector in you very happy.
Something else I would like to talk about before we get into the comic reviews are the soundtracks for the three Predator films and how great they are. The first two scores are done by Alan Silvestri, who was know for doing scores for films like Back To The Future, Cats Eye and Delta Force before doing Predator 1-2. His scores for the two films are a nice mix of action and sci-fi and the main theme to Predator always seems to get stuck in my head when I am outside in the woods! The score to Predators was done by John Debney who did scores for such films as The Jetsons Movies, Sudden Death, Spy Kids, End of Days and Sin City before tackling this film. While it’s a great score, it’s not nearly as epic as the first films. And as I am sure you all guessed that I do play some tracks off Predator 2’s soundtrack on Alpha Rhythms. If you’re a score listener like myself give them a listen, you might just like what you hear.
So far we have visited Roswell, New Mexico, made a pit stop at Area 51, took a look at the frantic Area 51 caller and broke down The Predator in films, music and other media and we still have the comic reviews to go! So as always I want to remind everyone once again I grade these on a standard 1-4 star rating and am looking at how well the comic keeps to the source material, its entertainment value, its art and story. So let’s get ready to get hunted as we enter the hunting zone, looking for the ultimate trophy hunter, The Predator. Also thanks to Lone Star Comics for having these issues in stock.
Predator # 1 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $2.25 Dark Horse #1 of 4
Detective Schaefer has a bad feeling about his city of New York, and when he enters the scene of a crime and finds two rival gangs both slaughtered like sheep his gut feeling seems to be right! The only survivor of the slaughter was a gang leader named Carr who escaped into the night. Things get worse when a train is attacked and victims are killed the same way as the gang members. During an investigation Schaefer gets a visit from an army general who tells him to let the murders run their course and that after the heat wave is over the murders will stop. He also tells him that his brother Dutch also knew about these killers. After the visit, Schaefer and his partner Rasche go back to the scene of the crime were the gang was killed, and Schaefer comes face to face with a Predator who flings him out the window, ending issue one.
It’s a very cool tie in to the original film with Schaefer being the brother of Dutch, Arnold’s character from the first film. Schaefer is alright so far, but he doesn’t really have a personality. He seems to do what he wants to do and doesn’t listen to the rules of his department, and he also seems to have some weird second sight for the strange and unknown. Rasche, his partner, seems to be more likable and is a family man who seems to respect his partner of 6 years but also doesn’t know a damn thing about him! Looks like Carr is a gang leader who is your typical street punk straight from a cheesy Hollywood film complete with red make up slashes on his face. I feel like he is going to be a major problem coming up in future issues. The Predator is the main “bad guy” of the issue and only really makes his appearance at the end as he beats the hell out of Schaefer and flings him out the window! I am a little puzzled about this Predator’s killing pattern as he seems to just be killing at random in the city. This issue also has way too many moments that feel like they read the script for Predator 2 and crammed them into the story, from the attack on the subway to the attack on rival gangs. The art in the issue is that classic Dark Horse style and is done by Chris Warner and looks pretty dang good for the time. Over all this issue is really the start of the mini series and while a little slow and disjointed, it was still a good read and makes me want to read part 2 ad see what happens to Schaefer. So let’s not wait any longer.
Predator # 2 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $2.25 Dark Horse #2 of 4
Schaefer’s fall from the window five stories up leaves him banged up and in the hospital. His stay is short as he checks himself out and stays on the couch of Rasche and his family. On Schaefer’s neck, The Predator has placed a tracker, an almost tag of some sorts so that he can track him at anytime. Schaefer goes to South America to the last place that his brother Dutch was seen, and while in the jungle along with his guide, they find a giant hole that was where the original Predator blew himself up. At night Schaefer is attacked once more by the Predator, and this time Schaefer wins knocking the alien from a cliff and impaling him on a sharp stone. In the end the guide is shown to be working for the military general who is pissed that Schaefer killed The Predator and is now preparing for total payback.
This second issue is filled with action and takes away the city back drop placing the fight in the jungle were it all started. Schaefer is more bull headed after getting his butt kicked and shows he is not to be messed with as he takes down a Predator with strategy and anger. So one Predator is killed, and this makes you wonder why the general is so freaked out by its death. Was this one special or do they just know it means war when they suffer a loss to their numbers? The action in this issue is pure 80’s action with lots of gunplay and fists are thrown making it feel right at home with other action/horror themed comics of the time. I do really like the jungle setting better than the streets of New York, it just has more of a mood to it. Rasche in this issue stays in New York and is told to get his family out of New York by Schaefer. So I am thinking the next issue will be what’s going on in the Big Apple. Chris Warner does the art again, and it’s so 90’s. It’s good and the cover is so in your face. So far at the midway point in this series, it’s a pretty good film inspired series and holds some of the charm of the films. So let’s see how issue 3 turns up the heat, shall we?
Predator # 3 **1/2
Released in 1989 Cover Price $2.25 Dark Horse #3 of 4
Schaefer in the jungle finds that he has pissed off the government for killing the Predator and is now being lead to the general, but he and his guide are ambushed by henchmen for a drug lord Schaefer pissed off some time ago in New York. While the guide is killed, Schaefer is kidnapped and set to be tortured, but he escapes and finds that an army of Predators have followed him and make short work of the drug cartel as the general comes to his rescue and leads him to a helicopter that will lead him straight to The Predators as a payment for their fallen friend. The meeting place is New York. Schaefer isn’t having it and knocks out the general, and when they land he is ready for a fight. While in New York, his partner Rasche finds that the city is being hovered over by Predator war ships, and this puts him at odds with the chief. At one point he is even kidnapped by unknown government agents but escapes when he finds they plan on turning over Schaefer to them. In the end both detectives are on a path to have a show down with their alien hunters.
This issue is a mix of jungle and city action, and it works to build up the final showdown of Schaefer and The Predators in the middle of the busy city. One of the best parts of this issue is the Predators attacking and killing the drug cartel in order to get to Schaefer. Those dope pushers didn’t stand a chance! This issue also shows that the military and the government knows about the Predators and almost seem to fear them, and will do anything to make the situation right with them after one of their own was murdered. Rasche, poor, poor man gets kidnapped by some agents. His own boss at the department turns on him by ratting him out, and he knows that the Predators are all over and that they plan on giving his partner over to them! This issue is a nice build up to the final where you know all hell is going to break loose. It still makes me wonder will we see a cameo from Dutch? Warner art once more, and the cover is great as you all can see. So without any more hold ups, let’s get to the final issue of The Predator by Dark Horse comics.
Predator # 4 **1/2
Released in 1990 Cover Price $2.25 Dark Horse #4 of 4
Schaefer has escaped the army, and he and Rasche meet up and plan for war against the Predators! They know they can’t get the help of the police or the army, so they do what they have to do and recruit Carr and other thugs to help them go to war, and war does happen in the middle of New York! The Predators have ground fighters as well as their space ships, and all looks bleak for Schaefer and his rag tag army until the army shows up and are ready now to fight off The Predator invasion. The war is heating up, and many lives are cut short but as quick as the fighting started, it stops as the Predators no longer see this as a hunt as much as a fight. This makes them leave the Earth…for now!
To be honest, the final war was a let down, and what was built up to be epic, came off a little rushed and very anti-climatic. Schaefer barely is able to get his fist wet with green blood before they just up and leave due to “the hunt” being taken out of the fight. In fact nothing really gets settled in this mini series as a part of New York is left destroyed. Carr helps, and I guess, escapes. Schaefer never finds out what happened to Dutch. Rasche rambles about quitting the force after he is shot, and the army, who come to the aid of the cops, just let them walk away after a major battle. It all seems like so many questions get no real answers. Rasche and Schaefer, while cool characters, for 4 issues I never really felt a connection to them and really didn’t learn much about each of them. The Predators seem a little off. Many of them take a pounding by the fists of Schaefer, and that’s not believable because according to the source material, the films, they are 10 times stronger than a human male. The comic series has blood but not a heck of a lot. The action is fun and very 80’s like. The art was well done and once more has that pure 90’s Dark Horse style to it. Over all this was an okay mini series based on a good action sci-fi film. While not groundbreaking so far on Rotten Ink I would say it’s in good company with the likes of Dr. Giggles and Pumpkinhead. Fans of this film series should check it out if they go in knowing it has some flaws but was made for the fans.
It was really neat to see what comic book creators were able to do thanks to 20th Century Fox allowing them to make this almost sequel-like mini series. The writers did the best they could to tie in the original film, making the main hero the brother of the hero of the film, but as I stated the sad part is that goes nowhere. But I feel we are not done yet so let’s get into a fantasy warfare as we pit the Predator against the great stuntman of the last update, the Cougar! The setting will be the hot summer month of July and take place on the 4th. The setting is a movie set for a new John Smith film for Independent B Movie in the swamp lands of Louisiana. So let’s see what happens in the battle of the minds and wills of these two champions as the Predator takes on the Cougar!
It’s around noon, and John Smith has called it a wrap for the day’s filming of his epic new film “Werewolf of the Bayou.” Most of the crew are heading into town for some beers and gumbo while they wait for the night’s fireworks. John walks up to the two stunt men for the film, Jeff “The Cougar” Rand and Bela Chaney, who are putting props away and discussing the next day’s big cabin on fire stunt, and lets them know he is heading into town himself to sit back and watch Morgus The Magnificent on TV host the 1931 Dracula and order room service and relax after the long morning shoot. They wish him well, and after his 95 Cavalier pulls away, Bela turns on the radio that’s playing classic rock and tells Jeff he wants to show him the prop that will be used to kill The Wolfman in this film. Bela pulls a giant silver and red handgun out of a case and fires a fake bullet into the air. As they both chuckle, three read lines appear on Bela’s chest and in the blink of an eye a loud noise is heard, and the stuntman’s chest now has a big whole through it! The Cougar swings into action and like in his youth he swings on the vines as blasts of a large cannon go off all around him. He swings by the prop van again and dives inside. The Predator, who is invisible, waits for a few moments and The Cougar never comes out. So he decides to go in after him. As the Predator makes his way towards the van, the tension is so thick you can cut it with a knife. As he creeps up on the van The Cougar jumps out wearing night goggles and holding a sword and slashes The Predator across his stomach causing green blood to spill onto the ground. As Cougar swings again Predator retracts his arm blades and blocks the strike! By this time The Predator becomes visible, but the sight of the alien doesn’t even phase Cougar who has fought a vampire and werewolf before this. The two trade swings with their blades and neither land a strike. The Cougar throws away his sword and holds up his fist and wants to fight man to alien. The Predator takes off his shoulder cannon and his masks and lets out a roar as Cougar leaps into the air and lands a superman punch to the alien’s jaw. The Predator shakes it off and lands a straight right to the face of the Cougar shattering his nose and breaking the stuntman’s jaw and causing him to fall to his knees and choke on his own blood, The Predator knows his foe is down and walks over and rips out the spin and skull of The Cougar ending the fight. That night on the Predators ship a new skull is placed in his trophy case and that skull belonged to a cocky stuntman who thought he could out box an alien.
Winner: The Predator
While I think The Cougar could dodge and survive for a while, I truly think the Predator’s weapons and cunning hunting style would overwhelm him after a while, and this would lead to the stuntman’s death. This was a fun update, and I really enjoyed reading The Predator mini series for the first time. I also liked writing a little about U.F.O.’s and all the unknown that surround them. The next alien invasion spotlight will be another Dark Horse mini series as we will look at their 6 issue run based on the Alien series! For our next update, we are heading into the past and taking a look at a Jack Kirby original named Devil Dinosaur! So until then look to the sky, read a comic or two, watch a movie and support your local Horror Host!