After the debut of the original Predator film in 1987, the titular species of intergalactic hunters, known in the universe as “Yuatja”, went on to become the stars of one of the most successful science fiction series ever. While the Predators have appeared in movies, video games and novels, they have undoubtedly had the greatest success in comics. Recently, Marvel enthusiastically announced the upcoming release of a new one Predator cartoon by Ed Brisson and Kev Walker, with a variant cover of David Finch portraying Predator standing triumphantly on top of the Avengers Tower, squeezing Iron Man’s decapitated head into one of its claws.
Although Brisson and Walker’s Predator the series will not take place in Marvel’s main universe, Finch’s variant cover is reminiscent of Predator the franchise’s many crossover comics that have seen Predator chase other iconic characters like Xenomorph, Judge Dread and even Archie. Predator’s most prolific crossover opponent, however, is Batman, who went toe-to-toe against the aliens in a trilogy of limited series released by DC and Dark Horse Comics; Batman vs. Predator, Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatchand Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties. In each of the three Batman vs. Predator the series, Caped Crusader was pitted against one or more predators in a battle to the death. Let’s take a look back at Batman’s history with Predator and how each battle unfolded.
Batman versus Predator (1991)
Batman’s first encounter with Predator was in Batman vs. Predator (by Dave Gibbons, Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert and Sherilyn Van Valkenburgh). When the winner of an underground boxing match organized by rival crime bosses Alex Yeager and Leo Brodin is murdered in his apartment by Predator, Batman is summoned to investigate the case. Over the next few days, the Dark Knight gained more insight into Predator as it continued its killing spree, concluding that the creature adhered to a strict code of honor after noticing that it had spared unarmed witnesses. In return, Predator developed a fixation on Batman after seeing him in action, and quickly decided that the Caped Crusader was the biggest prey Gotham had to offer.
With the unsolved series of murders that brought Yeager and Brodin to the brink of war, Batman traced Predator to its scrap yard hideout, where he was attacked by the alien hunter. Captured on guard by Predator’s superior strength and weapons, he barely managed to escape the battle alive and suffered such severe injuries that Alfred Pennyworth had to put him in a full-body cast to recover. Outraged at his inability to kill Batman, Predator turned Gotham into his own personal hunting ground, deliberately targeting high-ranking figures like Jim Gordon to lure the Dark Knight out for a rematch.
When an as yet unrecovered Batman found out that the Gotham City Police Department’s SWAT team was launching a city-wide manhunt for Predator that could cause unnecessary casualties, wearing a driven exoskeleton and challenging Predator to a one-on-one duel . After a brutal battle, Batman finally managed to defeat the Predator due to Wayne Manor, only for a ship with three more Predators to land nearby. After losing the duel, the original Predator took his own life, and those who remained gave Batman one of their swords as a symbol of their respect.
Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch (1995)
After the critical and commercial success Batman versus Predator, DC and Dark Horse Comics released Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch (by Doug Moench, Paul Gulacy, Terry Austin, Lovern Kindzierski, Carla Feeny, Digital Chameleon, and Todd Klein), a direct sequel to the original. After stopping the drug operation with the unexpected (and not appreciated) help from Huntress, Batman finds out that a notorious drug lord named Terraro had hired seven of the world’s most deadly assassins to kill him. In a cruel turn of fate, another Predator arrived in Gotham that night to chase the Dark Knight.
After discovering the mutilated body of one of Torre’s assassins, Batman and Huntress were made aware of the other Predator’s existence, and Batman and Huntress began preparing for the Dark Knights’ inevitable encounter with the aliens, while also averting attacks from Terraros. surviving assassins, who also become targets of Predator. But things get even more complicated after Batman discovers that other predators have arrived to hunt the first ones, establishing the existence of warring factions in the predator’s civilization. This concept would continue to become an integral part of Predator franchise.
In collaboration with the GCPD and an FBI task force that had tracked Predator’s movements before it arrived in Gotham, Batman laid a trap for the hostile Predator, which went catastrophically wrong when the other Predators and Terraro’s last assassins arrived to claim their respective prizes. After killing the FBI agents, the other Predators, and the last assassin, the original Predator GCPD took Lt. Stocker as hostage and fled back to its ship, where Batman and Huntress confronted it in a final battle. It turned out to be much stronger than its predecessor, and Predator almost managed to kill Batman before Lieutenant Stocker sacrificed himself to kill it, allowing Batman and Huntress to escape the ship before it crashed.
Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties (1997)
Counteracted by Batman versus Predator II: Bloodmatch‘s Inadequate Performance, DC and Dark Horse Comics released what would be the final installment Batman vs. Predator trilogy, Batman versus Predator III: Blood Ties (by Chuck Dixon, Rodolfo Damaggio, Robert Campanella and Pat Garrahay). In it, a pair of Predators consisting of a father and his son arrived in Gotham to chase the city’s supervillains. After becoming acquainted with the Predators’ modus operandi, Batman quickly deduced that the aliens were behind Gotham’s latest series of murders and set out to stop them, refusing to involve his then new sideman Tim Drake for fear that the Predators would aim at him.
While Batman was out rescuing Catwoman from the Predators, Tim sought help from Oracle, who told him what she knew about the Predators and Batman story with them. When he personally investigated the situation, Tim discovered that Mister Freeze had secretly survived an encounter with the Predators, inferring that the aliens had infrared vision, and discovered one of the Predators’ most exploitative weaknesses. Armed with this information, Batman armed himself with one of Freeze’s ancient costumes and confronted the oldest Predator as he prepared to attack Tim and his friends in a movie theater, where he freezes his opponent with Freeze’s gun.
With the older Predator safely imprisoned in the Batcave, Alfred invited Tim to come out of the cave and finally see a PRedator for himself, just so they could both be attacked by the younger Predator. When he returned just in time to prevent Predator from killing Alfred and Tim, Batman negotiated a hostage exchange that allowed Predator to take his wounded father and leave Gotham unaffected. When Tim asked why the Predators seemed so interested in the two of them, Batman theorized that the Predators saw him and Tim’s parenting bond as a reflection of their own.
Lobo has his own Alien Justice League, and that could include … Batman ?!
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