The Batman vs. Predator trilogy is a collection of stories featuring the Caped Crusader and the alien lifeforms known as Predators. Published as a joint association by DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics, the stories first hit comic book shelves in 1991, 1995, and 1997.
The first story in the trilogy is Batman vs. Predator. This three-issue story is from writer Dave Gibbons and illustrator Andy Kubert.
The second story is the four-issue tale, Batman vs. Predator II: Bloodmatch. Doug Moench is the writer, with Paul Gulacy providing illustrations.
The third and final story, which also runs for four issues is called Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties. Chuck Dixon is the writer, while Rodolfo Damaggio is the illustrator.
All three stories were originally published as single issue comics, then reprinted as trade paperbacks. They have since been collected together and published as one book.
What happens in Batman vs. Predator?
A Predator arrives in Gotham City and starts targeting prey, including boxers and mobsters. This draws the attention of the Gotham City Police Department as well as Batman.
The Predator works its way through the city, taking trophies from each kill. But with each kill, Batman comes closer to discovering the Predator’s motive.
The Predator and Batman do battle, leaving the Dark Knight fighting for life. And with Batman incapacitated, the citizens of Gotham City become increasingly afraid of this new murderer that stalks the streets.
As the body count mounts up, the Mayor and members of the Gotham City Police Department become the latest victims of the Predator. The only way to end this reign of terror is for a newly healed Batman to suit up for a rematch.
Batman and the Predator engage in combat. As the fight escalates, the battle relocates to the Batcave.
Batman gets the upper hand, leaving the Predator to concede defeat. As a mark of honour, and to cement the Predator code, the creature takes its own life, seeing Batman as the true victor.
Is Batman vs. Predator worth a read?
In my opinion, Batman vs. Predator is the second best Predator story after Predator – the 1987 movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. This might seem like feint praise, given that the Predator movie series has been quite bumpy at best, but for me, Batman vs. Predator captures the perfect balance of gore and action that the movie handled so well, and is also an enjoyable tale in the process.
The story is pretty simple – the Predator works its way through Gotham – but it is no less involving. Dave Gibbons spins a captivating tale, which is perfectly backed up by Andy Kubert’s sublime artwork which is simply marvellous.
Part horror, part action movie and all killer (no filler), Batman vs. Predator is a fantastic start to the trilogy. It keeps things simple, and never runs out of steam.
What happens in Batman vs. Predator II: Bloodmatch?
A year has passed since the events of Batman vs. Predator. Batman is patrolling the streets of Gotham, but this puts him in the firing line of seven hired goons, all keen to claim a bounty on his head.
But Batman has an even bigger problem – a Predator has arrived on Earth. Keen to face the Caped Crusader, the alien steals the Bat-Signal, to lure Batman into a battle.
Batman faces the Predator, but is captured and close to death. He is rescued by the Huntress, and the pair escape. Meanwhile, the bounty on Batman’s head continues.
The number of bounty hunters decreases, but there is a new threat in Gotham – two more Predators arrive. However, these new Predators appear to be tracking their peer.
Batman and the Huntress battle the Predator, with the fight taking place on the alien’s ship. The Predator is wounded and Batman and Huntress are thrown from the craft.
A second ship targets the Predator. It belongs to the additional aliens that landed in Gotham.
The second ship destroys the first, terminating itself in the process. Finally, the threat to Gotham is over.
Is Batman vs. Predator II worth a read?
While not as strong as the first entry, Batman vs. Predator II is still an enjoyable read. By increasing the amount of Predators, as well as introducing a group of assassins, the tale manages to escalate the drama – very much in-keeping with the way movie sequels get bigger with each new entry.
The weak link which stops it from being as strong an entry as Batman vs. Predator, is largely to do with the assassins, who don’t seem very threatening. The idea is good, it just needed tweaking.
However, Batman vs. Predator II is a decent follow-up. It continues the story well, and finds a suitable reason for another Predator to appear in Gotham.
What happens in Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties?
Two Predators arrive in Gotham City and initiate a killing spree. Batman suspects an alien creature has returned, but before he can investigate further he becomes busy with an armed robbery orchestrated by Mr. Freeze.
Batman and Robin attempt to apprehend Mr. Freeze but fail, leaving Freeze and his gang to escape. Believing they are safe, the gang retreat to an abandoned warehouse, but are attacked by the Predators.
Due to his subzero body temperature, which makes him invisible to the Predators, Mr. Freeze escapes the attack and goes on the run. Meanwhile, Batman equips himself with a high-tech aircraft to take on what he believes is a lone Predator.
While in pursuit of the Predator, Batman is ambushed by the second creature and both escape. With the Predators disappearing into Gotham, Batman and Robin turn their attention to capturing Mr. Freeze.
Catching up with the frost-covered foe, Batman realises the Predators have a weakness – they are unable to see the cold. Strapping on a battle suit, which can mask his body temperature, Batman sets another trap.
While Batman engages with one of the Predators, the second creature targets Robin. The Boy Wonder manages to escape the attack and heads to the Batcave, where he and Alfred fight off the Predator.
Having defeated the first Predator, Batman arrives at the Cave to claim victory. The Predators feel humiliated and leave Gotham, seemingly for good.
Is Batman vs. Predator III worth a read?
The third entry in this trilogy is actually first Batman vs. Predator story I ever read. Back during the 1990s I completely missed part one and two of this trilogy, but came across part three when it was released as a trade paperback.
I devoured the story in one sitting, then went back to the beginning and re-read it. I then sought out the other two books in the series to find out what I had missed.
For me, Batman vs. Predator III sits a close second to part one. It isn’t quite as dark as the first tale, but it just edges out part two.
What certainly works in its favour is the artwork which is very strong. In particular, Batman’s final battle with a Predator is exhilarating and just so damn cool.
Batman vs. Predator III feels like it should be a movie. Heck, this whole trilogy feels it could provide the basis for some great animated features!
Has the Batman vs. Predator trilogy been adapted for film?
The Batman vs. Predator trilogy has not been adapted for film and it’s very unlikely it ever will. While the comic book characters were able to come together through a joint deal between DC Comics and Dark Horse, their big screen counterparts are a whole different ball game.
The Predator film franchise is owned by Disney (having acquired it through the purchase of 20th Century Fox). The Batman film franchise is overseen by Warner Bros. Pictures.
It is very doubtful the two studios would work together to produce a feature film, let alone a trilogy of tales. As it stands, it is best to see the three comic book stories as ‘movies that never happened’.
However, if you really, really want to see Batman and Predator share the screen, then you might like to know that in 2003, a short fan film was released combining the characters. Written and directed by Sandy Collora, Batman: Dead End saw the Caped Crusader facing Predators… AND Xenomorphs from the Alien film series.
The unofficial short (which runs around eight minutes in length) gained a cult following during the early ‘00s, where it regularly circulated around convention halls. Batman: Dead End is a little rough around the edges, but if you want to check it out, it can usually be found on YouTube.
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