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I am currently enjoying the Batman versus Predator II mini-series of the mid-1990s which was a joint effort between DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. The first issue was great and nicely built up the energy for the first encounter between Batman and the Predator in issue #2. Along the way, I do enjoy the adulterated tone that came with the presentation. This made each issue look and feel like an R-rated cinematic segment.
Will the strong quality of this crossover continue in the third issue? Find out with me in this look back at Batman versus Predator II #3, published in 1995 by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics with a story written by Doug Moench and drawn by Paul Gulacy.
The story begins with Batman emerging from the sewer. He finds himself alone in the middle of a city street and senses danger is around him. Suddenly someone from one of the nearby buildings fires at Batman who dodges and takes cover by a car. He grabs a tool and throws it at the window which hits the rifle. And then, on the street, a man throws a grenade at the caped crusader who deflects it. The grenade enters a nearby establishment and explodes. Batman kicks the antagonist and then encounters a speeding vehicle heading towards him.
The detective fires his weapon which causes the car’s windshield to get smashed. He dodges the car and sees it crash. Suddenly the floor beneath him opens which compels him to use his grapnel to avoid falling down to spikes below.
Meanwhile at another location, the Predator dissolves the decapitated head of a man (killed in issue #2) with hot liquid and keeps the skull for his collection of trophies.
Back at the Bat Cave, Batman and Alfred analyze what happened recently. Alfred states that the Predator killed two of the seven assassins hired by Terraro to kill Batman. The great detective wonders why…
Let me start with the storytelling. The writing by Doug Moench is solid and, more importantly, there is a nice payoff here in relation what was gradually built up in the first two issues – Terraro’s assassins and operations getting more lively within the plot. This alone adds some nice variety into the ongoing Batman-Predator rivalry, and symbolically the Huntress (who is after Terraro) is involved with the mafia plot and the said rivalry between Gotham’s detective and the hunter from space.
More on Batman and the Huntress, I like the way Moench wrote these two heroes as being divided even though they both face threats from the crime gang and from the Predator. Both characters are vigilantes but Batman has justice in mind while the Huntress is focused on hunting the powerful crime boss. Adding more depth to the story is the subplot about Commissioner Gordon being helpless and recovering in the hospital which complicates matters for the Gotham City police department.
Another thing that makes this issue more unique is the in-depth presentation of Batman doing detective work in the Bat Cave with Alfred providing insight. This alone makes this issue an improvement over issue #2.
When it comes to the visuals, artist Paul Gulacy continues to provide really nice artwork backed with strong support by the colorists. Gulacy took his time pacing the story by following the script closely and made key action scenes look dynamic visually when needed.
Considering all the good stuff I enjoyed in it, Batman versus Predator II #3 is a great read. It has a better balance on plotting, detective work, spectacle and intrigue. In fact, this comic book has a much more powerful ending than issues #1 and #2, and the ironic thing is that this only leads to the 4th and final issue which I’ll review soon.
If you are seriously planning to buy an existing hard copy of Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995), be aware that as of this writing, MileHighComics.com shows that the near-mint copy of the comic book costs $40.
Overall, Batman versus Predator II #3 (1995) is highly recommended!
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