Predator: Prey to the Heavens, originally titled Predator, is a four-issue limited comic book series that was first published by Dark Horse Comics from June 2009-January 2010. It was written by John Arcudi, illustrated by Javier Saltares, inked by Saltares and Walden Wong, colored by Wes Dzioba and Walden Wong, lettered by Nate Piekos and edited by Chris Warner and Samantha Robertson, with cover art by Raymond Swanland. The comic follows the Graham Directive Security mercenary/defense contractor group and their battle with both traditional and Killer clan Predators in Africa. The series was preceded by the short-story prequel Predator (2009 short story), produced by the same creative team, and did itself serve as a prequel to the six-issue series Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War.
Marking the 20th anniversary of the release of Predator: Concrete Jungle, the first Predator comic, and released in anticipation of the 2010 film Predators, Predator: Prey to the Heavens was the first original Predator comic to be released since Predator: Xenogenesis a decade earlier.
In the Predator comics line, Predator: Prey to the Heavens was preceded by Predator (2009 short story), and was followed by Predators.
#1: The world's attention is focused painfully on a brutal third world Civil War, a merciless sectarian conflict sparing neither soldier nor civilian, grandmother nor child. But amidst the terror and carnage, where great nations and powerful interests jockey for position and advantage, another blood feud rages in the shadows, one no more humane but decidedly less human. Two warring tribes from the stars have chosen Earth's killing fields as their arena, with each clan sworn to eradicate the other... and all who stand between them. Each is the other's prey, each the other's Predator.
#2: Where there is armed conflict, there is money to be made. And in the midst of a third-world civil war, the military contractors of Graham Directive Security have sold their skills to shield their corporate clients from the sectarian violence tearing a country apart. But the GDS guns-for-hire soon discover that they are in the midst of not one, but two civil wars, one of extraterrestrial origin. And while the brutality and ruthlessness of mankind is well documented, it is nothing compared to the heartless savagery exhibited by the star-spawned Predators, especially when warring clans of the alien terrors are each sworn to wipe the other from existence.
#3: While the guns-for-hire of Graham Directive Security knew they were entering a third-world war zone when they signed on, they never bargained for stumbling into the middle of an interplanetary blood feud. After barely surviving a brutal firefight with a squad of Predator soldiers, Thorpe and Major Briggs hightail it to the GDS compound only to find their base under siege by the offworld marauders. Thorpe and his crew haven't got a prayer of survival — that is, they wouldn't if they didn't have the most unlikely ally in the universe.
#4: Think that a third-world civil war is messy? How about an off-world civil war? Caught in the middle of a blood feud between rival Predator clans in an east African war zone, private military contractor Thorpe barely makes it back to base with his hide intact after a pitched firefight with a squad of extraterrestrial marauders. But clean sheets and hot chow will provide cold comfort once the alien killers and their lethal technology track Thorpe down, and he has precious little time to marshal the Graham Directive Security crew for a desperate defense. They might have had a chance had they not lost their most potent ally, a lone rival Predator warrior, but now Thorpe and the GDS soldiers are out of options and out of time as they prepare to make their stand — their last stand.
Graham Directive Security, a private military company, is deployed to East Africa to protecting American interest in the region on behalf of Secretary Mengistu from rebel forces. GDS is led by Thorpe and advised by newly arrived U.S. military observer Major Briggs.
Thorpe and Briggs lead a security convoy in providing a secure route for the Wecter Corps representatives. After setting up a checkpoint, the convoy noticed that every block they had passed are unusually quiet and empty. Feeling cautious, Thorpe suggest getting off the street in which Briggs agrees and attempt to make a call to Secretary Mengistu's security team that their travel is further delay. But unknown to him, the security team is massacred by a new faction of Predators. One of the Predators disrupt the communication feed with Briggs. Thorpe and several PMCs walk away from the convoy to observe the damages on the next block and note that the amount of damage is unusually too large to have been committed by the rebels. A large explosion suddenly erupts from the convoy and is follow by sounds of gunfire. The group heads back and hide from behind cover to find Predators having destroyed some of the vehicles and killing the security force that were left there.
Thorpe orders his men to hang back and pull a retreat to base if the situation goes bad as he then sneaks into one of the armored vehicles, which he attempt to run and gun down the Predators with the vehicle's on-board sentry gun. One of the Predators jump onto his vehicle, but is shot by one of the PMCs, Tolin. However, Thorpe is already distracted by the Predator and crashes his car, but fortunately survives from the car's deployed air bags. Their attack has scattered the Predators to retreat. Thorpe berates Tolin for not following his orders and appears to be intimately familiar with the Predators. With their communication down, thus unable to contact their base, Thorpe, Briggs and the remaining GDS force are forced to return on foot — Thorpe strongly insisted on not using their vesicles as they emit heat signature that the Predators will easily detect.
The group soon come under attack by mortar shells launched by the rebels. They manage to avoid the shelling, but are then attacked by Predators. Thorpe has his throat lifted by one of the Predators until another different Predator kills his captor, saving Thorpe in the process, and attacking the other Predators. This force the aliens to flee and sparing Thorpe and the others. The men are surprised by the sudden turn of events before making their way back to the base.
By the time they return, they learn that all electronic communication and devices are being jammed. This news greatly worries Thorpe and Briggs, and they have everyone armed and put the base on high alert. However, the base is not entirely invulnerable as a Predator manages to infiltrate and kill their doctor, in which his decapitated body is hung on the Yutani Building that is left on display that the PMCs could see it. The gruesome scene is blown up by the same Predator that attacked its kin. That night, everyone discuss about their adversaries in which they then realize that the Predators are corralling them as part of their hunting game rather than killing them outright. They then discuss on the other Predator in which they speculate there is a conflict between these different Predators and even suggest the opposing Predator is friendly given that it doesn't attack the humans. But Thorpe vehemently decry that it's not helping them and that it isn't different from the others. After a tense silence, Thorpe admits to Briggs and the rest of his men that he was previously hunted by these creatures in Gabon. Due to his experience, Thorpe is all but certain that this conflict between the Predators wouldn't spare the humans in the end.
After finishing his story, Thorpe orders everyone to pack up and prepare to leave by the next morning. However, the Predators are not letting them escape in which they unleash mortar fire on the base, killing sixteen men and destroying every vehicle. With their escape gone and unable to call for help, Thorpe propose a risky plan: he decide to solely travel outside the range of the creatures' jamming device in order to contact help from the nearest GDS outpost. But instead he accidentally finds a Predator encampment with the jamming device as he hid inside a building. Thorpe consider to throw a grenade at the encampment to destroy the device, but would alert his presence. Before he could make his move, he is confronted by the opposing Predator. Following a brief stand off, the Predator attack its kin and allowing Thorpe to run back to base. Now knowing the jamming device's location, Thorpe has a mortar strike on the encampment and finally getting in contact with the outpost.
Unfortunately, the base soon falls under attack by the Predators in which they destroy their armory. The surviving GDS force retreat into the sickbay where Thorpe plans to make a last line of defense while waiting for reinforcement. But during the attack, an inebriated Major Briggs has commandeered a tank and using it to strike back at the aliens. Seeing an opportunity, Thorpe orders his men to stay as far away from the base as possible until help arrives while he remains to help Briggs to fight and draw the Predators to them.
The next morning, GDS reinforcements finally arrive and they are surprise to find the state of the base, a destroyed tank, and a dead Predator. Thorpe and Briggs are nowhere to be found. Thorpe's men returns to the base and demand for medical help. When pressed on what occurred here and Thorpe's whereabouts, a soldier only bitterly replies that Thorpe and Major Briggs are likely to be dead.
After its initial publication under the original title Predator, the series received its current title, Predator: Prey to the Heavens, when it was collected as a trade paperback released in April 2010. This edition included the prologue story and reused the Swanland cover artwork from issue 2.
Behind the Scenes
John Arcudi is a veteran writer of Aliens and Predator comics, having also worked on Predator: God's Truth, Predator: Big Game, Aliens: Reapers, Aliens: Genocide, Aliens: Alien, Aliens: Stronghold and Aliens: Alchemy. He was also the original writer on Dark Horse Comics' The Mask, which was turned into a theatrical film of the same name starring Jim Carrey.
In 2008, Arcudi was tapped by editor Chris Warner to be lead writer for the series that would relaunch the Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comic book lines for Dark Horse Comics. Though Arcudi did write the resultant Aliens: More Than Human and Predator: Prey to the Heavens miniseries in 2009, he was unable to write the follow-on Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War and was replaced by the writer of the original Aliens vs. Predator series, Dark Horse vice-president Randy Stradley.
Editor Chris Warner was actually the first person to come up with the idea of the Aliens vs. Predator crossover at Dark Horse during story meetings in the late 1980s. He was also the artist on Predator: Concrete Jungle, the first Predator miniseries, and one of the artists on the original Aliens vs. Predator series in 1990.
There was an effort made with the relaunch of the Aliens, Predator and Aliens vs. Predator comics to strongly establish a joint continuity between the lines and between the new series and all previous Dark Horse releases from the franchises — with the possible exception of the previous Predator comics, to which minimal referencing was made. To that extent, a prequel to the 2009 Predator miniseries was featured in Free Comic Book Day: Aliens/Predator, while the series itself served as a build-up to Aliens vs. Predator: Three World War, which again features protagonist Thorpe from the 2009 Predator series as a main character. The lead character from Dark Horse's 2009 Aliens miniseries also appeared in Three World War, thus firmly establishing the connection between all three franchises, at least in comic book form.
- AVP Zone - Official AVP comics page at the Dark Horse Comics website.
- Issue 1 - Online preview of the first few pages of the first issue at the Dark Horse Comics website.
- Issue 2 - Online preview of issue 2 at the Dark Horse Comics website.
- Issue 3 - Online preview of issue 3 at the Dark Horse Comics website.
- Issue 4 - Online preview of issue 4 at the Dark Horse Comics website.
- Making of a Comic - Online behind-the-scenes feature showing the making of the comic book series the Dark Horse website.