Predator: Dark River is a four-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from July-October 1996. The series was written by Mark Verheiden, illustrated by Ron Randall, inked by Rick Magyar, colored by John Hanan III, Steve Mattsson and David Nestelle, lettered by Steve Dutro and edited by Philip Amara and Bob Cooper, with cover art by Miran Kim. The comic follows Detective Schaefer as he returns to the site of the first Predator film to try and find answers as to what happened to his brother Dutch.
The series is one of the few Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comic books to serve as a direct sequel to an earlier story. Specifically, it features the return of Detective Schaefer (brother of Predator hero Alan "Dutch" Schaefer) and Major General Homer Phillips, both of whom had previously featured in the comics Predator: Concrete Jungle and Predator: Cold War.
#1: Schaefer joined the NYPD to "serve and protect." It's a bug in his blood or a chip in his brain. But as bad as things get in the drug-infested concrete jungle there's something worse out there, something that really needs stopping. The last time Schaefer faced it down was three years ago, in Russia. Now he's got another chance to stop that evil. He's heading down to the jungles of South America, and he'll come back with the head of a Predator... or he won't come back at all.
#2: Detective Schaefer has traded the concrete jungle of New York for the sweaty hell of its South American counterpart. He's on a mission to find his missing brother, but he's going to be hard pressed to do that. Someone is luring Shaefer into an inevitable confrontation with a Predator. One that he's faced before. One that he thought he killed. One that wants revenge.
#3: Though Predators are natural-born killers, one theory suggests they have a code of honor. Leave it to NYPD Detective Schaefer to find a Predator that doesn't share that theory. Deep in the heart of South America, Schaefer is hunting for a piece of his past — his lost brother Dutch — while another piece of his past — a Predator he thought long dead — stalks him through the dense, sweltering jungle. And when they finally lock horns, the "dark river" will run red!
#4: Detective Schaefer has been having bizarre nightmares of a nasty-looking, seven-foot-tall, alien headhunter. One big problem: Schaefer is wide awake. And though he's been hardened by the atrocities he's experienced as a NYC cop, it won't prepare him for his fateful, savage confrontation with the Predator he thought he'd destroyed years ago. Now his search for his brother Dutch may end with no answers, more questions, and a lot more bloodshed.
Predator: Dark River was eventually collected as part of Predator Omnibus: Volume 1 in August 2007.
The series was collected again as part of the oversized hardcover Predator 30th Anniversary: The Original Comics Series trade paperback, alongside the related stories Predator: Concrete Jungle and Predator: Cold War. The collection was released in June 2017 (to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the film Predator).
Behind the Scenes
Dark River is the third in a trilogy of stories featuring Detective Shaefer, which began with Predator: Concrete Jungle and continued with Predator: Cold War. These three comics are now referred to as the "core Dark Horse Predator graphic novels" by the publisher.
Writer Mark Verheiden also penned the other two stories in the Schaefer trilogy. Considered a hugely influential figure in the Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comics lines, Verheiden also wrote Aliens: Outbreak, the first ever Aliens comic, along with several other core comic book stories in the Aliens and Predator lines. Aside from his contributions to those franchises, he has worked on the likes of Superman for DC Comics, and wrote the scripts for the feature films The Mask and Timecop, both of which are based on Dark Horse properties, the latter being a Verheiden creation. In recognition of his contributions to the Alien vs. Predator universe, the mercenary Mark Verheiden in the film Alien vs. Predator was named after the author.
Artist Ron Randall also contributed artwork to each of the three miniseries in Verheiden's Predator trilogy. For the original 1989 comic, he was assisted by Chris Warner, but Randall handled the two sequel series by himself.
- Unlike the other two comic series featuring Detective Schaefer, Dark River was never adapted as a novel.