Writer: Mark Schultz
Artist: Gene Colan (with sketch and cover galleries by Mark Schultz)
Rating: Eight of Ten Stars
When an alien spacecraft that matches the design known to be used by the Predator species is seen plunging into the sea off the Chilean coast, a group of SCUBA diving commandos are dispatched to take the fight to the alien and hopefully bring back some samples of the species' technology. Unfortunately for the brave Predator hunters, this is one alien who has come to Earth to hunt game even more dangerous than humans....
"Predator: Hell & Hot Water" is not only an action-packed Predator tale in a very unusual environment, but it's also a top-notch horror story. The horror overtones here are far greater than in any of the "Predator" movies or other "Predator" comics I've read. Further, it features a believable cast of characters--here's a group that actually works together as a team of professionals, instead of wasting effort and energy with in-fighting among the characters like we so often see in this kind tale--and is told in a very cinematic fashion with excellent dialogue and some of the best art from Gene Colan's drawingboard since "Raggamuffins" and "Silverblade".
The free-flowing, sometimes confusing page layouts that have become Colan's hallmark in the late stage of his long artistic career work exceptionally well with the environment of much of "Hell & Hot Water", which takes place in an undersea environment where up, down, left, and right must be considered equally at all times. Even when Our Heroes are on dry land, they have contend with threats that can come from any direction at any moment. Colan's art conveys this exceptionally well. If you're a fan of any of his previous work (in "Daredevil", "Iron Man", "Captain America", "Tomb of Dracula", "Night Force", Silverblade", "Howard the Duck", "Nathaniel Dusk" or "Doctor Strange"), you should track down a copy of this graphic novel for a look at late-stage Colan that is a impactful as when he was at his best.
This graphic novel is better than any of the "Predator" sequels that have appeared in theaters so far. I'll discover today, when I check out the latest one, if this remains true.