- Marvel’s new comic, Predator vs. Wolverine, cleverly pays tribute to both characters’ iconic histories.
- By rewriting elements of Wolverine and the Predator’s past, the comic delivers an action-packed thriller that explores themes common to both franchises, like the depths of human savagry.
- Predator vs. Wolverine showcases both characters’ growth over the decades while tying into major plots from Marvel’s comics and the Predator films.
The following contains spoilers for Predator vs. Wolverine #1, now on sale from Marvel Comics
Thanks to his healing factor, it’s always been difficult for fans to determine how old Wolverine is. This element of the character’s story has given plenty of creators an easy excuse to plant Logan into different eras of 20th and 21st-century history, allowing the character to appear in all sorts of stories over the years. This factor is on display throughout Predator vs. Wolverine, which quietly takes place across different time periods.
Predator vs. Wolverine #1 (by Benjamin Percy, Ken Lashley, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, Andrea Di Vito, Juan Fernandez, Frank D’Armata, and VC’s Cory Petit) does more than just pit the X-Men’s Wolverine up against one of sci-fi’s most infamous killers. It steadily reveals their rivalry goes back over a century. In fact, the Predator had attacked Logan at many stages in his life. It’s a clever way to tie the sci-fi character to Wolverine’s overarching history, while also allowing the story to pay specific tribute to different Predator films.
How Wolverine Goes Into Prey
Predator vs. Wolverine #1 reveals that the two title characters first encountered each other in the early days of the 20th century. Long before he would be put through the Weapon X program or find his true calling as a hero among the X-Men, Logan was just a man trying to make his way through the harsh winters in the deep north. Approached by a mysterious figure who needed help to rescue his son, Logan embarked on an adventure deep into the tundra that took a grisly turn when they encountered the Predator. Logan’s duel with the alien was a harsh one. Both fighters realized the other’s dangerous potential as the battle wore on. Although the Predator’s technology gave it an edge over Logan, the mutant turned nature against the Predator. Logan ultimately lured the alien into a bear’s den and left the Predator to fend for itself. Although the Predator slayed the beast, it did not restart the battle with the mutant.
The time-period and natural obstacles faced by the Predator in their first battle specifically recall the latest entry in the Predator series, Prey. Set in the Northern Great Plains in 1719, Prey centered on Naru, a young Comanche woman who found herself facing off with the alien hunter. Like Logan, Naru lacked the technological weaponry that allowed the Predator to reduce all targets to chunks of meat and bone. The Predator even slays a grizzly bear in both mediums. Similarly, both Logan and Naru used the opportunity to escape the wrath of the Predator in the process. Another notable similarity is the way both Logan and Naru encounter despicable humans. Naru’s brief capture by French fur traders is far more harrowing than Logan’s brief partnership with the “father” — in reality a train robber hoping to take advantage of Logan’s skill-set for his own gain. However, both beats illustrate how humanity can be just as dangerous and destructive to one another as a super-weapon wielding alien hunter.
Marvel Drops Team X Into The First Predator
The latter portion of Predator vs. Wolverine #1 shifts the story ahead by decades, focusing on Logan during his time with Team X. The commando squad involved Wolverine working alongside other notable characters like Sabretooth, Maverick, and other deadly agents at the behest of the CIA and Weapon Plus. The team gets deployed to South America to contend with a guerrilla force planning a coup against the local government. As Team X moved into position to combat the soldiers, they found skinned bodies hanging from the outpost tower — along with the smell of blood all around it. The guerrilla force had already been dealt with by a group of Predators, who ended the issue by revealing themselves to their latest targets, Team X.
This setup is remarkably similar to the original Predator, which featured a group of American commandos sent into the South American jungle to rescue a US Ambassador from a group of insurgents. Team X is a clear stand-in for Dutch and the rest of the commandos. Notably, one of Logan’s teammates, Kruel, is captured and seemingly dispatched by a Predator’s netgun. The tight metallic net fired by the Predators can restrict targets so thoroughly that the metal mesh of the net burns into their skin, which appears to be the fate of Kruel.
How Predator vs. Wolverine Pays Tribute To Both Characters
Predator vs. Wolverine is an inherently fun story, pitting two of pop culture’s most infamous killers against one another in a no-holds-barred battle to the death. As a piece of fan service goes, it’s an immediately compelling concept. But the clever aspect of the series is the way it pays tribute to the history of both characters. Wolverine’s long life has allowed him to go through many changes and effectively become different people. The drifter of his youth is a far cry from the commando of Team X or the heroic member of the X-Men he is today. The series jumping through various time periods highlights how much Wolverine has changed over the years, charting his growth from an animalistic wanderer to an impressive hero.
For the Predator, there’s less of a specific character to be referenced. The Predators themselves are less individual characters and more defined by their species’ habits and tendencies. Instead, the story pays direct tribute to some of the films that make up the franchise, effectively recreating the heights of the franchise in Predator and Prey while tying them to the greater Marvel Universe in a believable manner. It’s a clever touch to a series that could have just been a slaughter fest. Tying Predator to Wolverine as long-time rivals is a great nod to the way Logan’s animosity with Sabretooth gained importance through their shared history. It elevates their conflict while paying tribute to the history of the Marvel Universe and the Predator franchise in a thrilling manner.
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