After the debut of the original predator film in 1987, the titular species of intergalactic hunters, known in-universe as the “Yuatja”, went on to become the stars of one of the most successful science-fiction franchises of all time. While the Predators have made appearances in film, video games, and novels, they’ve arguably found the most success within comics. Just recently, Marvel enthusiastically announced the upcoming release of a new predator comic series by Ed Brisson and Kev Walker, with a variant cover by David Finch portraying the Predator standing triumphantly atop Avengers Tower, clutching Iron Man’s decapitated head in one of its claws.
Although Brisson and Walker’s predator series won’t be set in the mainline Marvel universe, Finch’s variant cover brings to mind the predator franchise’s many crossover comics, which have seen the Predator hunt other iconic characters like the Xenomorph, Judge Dread and even Archie. However, the Predator’s most prolific crossover opponent is Batman, who went toe-to-toe against the alien in a trilogy of limited series published by DC and Dark Horse Comics; batman versus predator, Batman vs. Predator II: Bloodmatchand Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties. In each of the three batman versus predator series, the Caped Crusader was pitted against one or more Predators in a battle to the death. Let’s take a look back on Batman’s history with Predator and how each bout played out.
Batman vs. Predator (1991)
Batman’s first encounter with the Predator was in batman versus 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, he is murdered in his apartment by the Predator, Batman is called in to investigate. Over the next few days, the Dark Knight gained more insight on the Predator as it continued its killing spree, deducing the creature adhered to a strict code of honor after noticing that it’d spared unarmed witnesses. In turn, the Predator developed a fixation on Batman after witnessing him in action, quickly deciding that the Caped Crusader was the greatest prey Gotham had to offer.
With the unsolved string of murders bringing Yeager and Brodin to the brink of war, Batman tracked the Predator to its junkyard hideout, where he was ambushed by the alien hunter. Caught off guard by the Predator’s superior strength and weaponry, Batman barely managed to escape from the battle alive, suffering so severe injuries that Alfred Pennyworth had to put him in a full-body cast to recover. Incensed by its failure to kill Batman, the Predator turned Gotham into its own personal hunting ground, deliberately targeting high-ranking figures like Jim Gordon to lure the Dark Knight out for a rematch.
Learning that the Gotham City Police Department’s SWAT team was about to launch a city-wide manhunt for the Predator that could cause unnecessary casualties, a not-yet-recovered Batman donned a powered exoskeleton and challenged the Predator to a one-on-one duel . After a brutal battle, Batman finally managed to defeat he Predator on the grounds of Wayne Manor, only for a ship carrying three more Predators to land nearby. Having lost the duel, the original Predator took its own life, and those that remained gifted Batman with one of their swords as a symbol of their respect for him.
Batman vs. Predator II: Bloodmatch (1995)
Following the critical and commercial success of Batman Versus Predator, DC and Dark Horse Comics released Batman vs. 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 busting drug operation with the unexpected (and unappreciated) help of Huntress, Batman learned that a notorious drug lord named Terraro had hired seven of the world’s deadliest assassins to kill him. In a cruel twist of fate, another Predator arrived Gotham that same night to hunt the Dark Knight.
Alerted to the other Predator’s existence after discovering the mutilated body of one of Torres’s assassins, Batman and Huntress began preparing for the Dark Knight’s inevitable encounter with the alien while also fending off attacks from Terraro’s surviving assassins, who also become targets of the Predator. However, things get even more complicated after Batman discovered that other Predators have arrived to hunt the first, establishing the existence of warring factions in the Predator’s civilization. This concept would go on to become a staple of the predator franchise.
Working with the GCPD and an FBI task force that’d been tracking the Predator’s movements before it’d arrived in Gotham, Batman set a trap for the hostile Predator that went disastrously wrong when the other Predators and Terraro’s last assassin arrived to claim their respective prizes. After killing the FBI agents, the other Predators, and the last assassin, the original Predator took GCPD Lt. Stocker as a hostage and fled back to it’s ship, where Batman and Huntress confronted it in a final battle. Proving to be much stronger than it’s predecessor the Predator nearly managed to kill Batman before Lt. Stocker sacrificed himself to kill it, allowing Batman and Huntress to escape the ship before it crashed.
Batman vs. Predator III: Blood Ties (1997)
Discussed by Batman vs. Predator II: Bloodmatch‘s lack-luster performance, DC and Dark Horse Comics published what would become the last installment of the batman versus predator trilogy, Batman vs. 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 hunt the city’s supervillains. Having become familiar with the Predators’s modus operandi, Batman quickly deduced that the aliens were behind Gotham’s latest string of murders and set out to stop them, refusing to involve his then-new sidekick Tim Drake out of fear that the Predators would target him.
While Batman was out saving Catwoman from the Predators, Tim sought out help from Oracle, who told him what she knew about the Predators and Batman’s history with them. Investigating the situation on his own, Tim discovered that Mister Freeze had secretly survived an encounter with the Predators and deduced that the aliens possessed infrared vision, discovering one of the Predators’ most exploitative weaknesses. Armed with this information, Batman armed himself with one of Freeze’s old suits and confronted the elder Predator as he was preparing to attack Tim and his friends from him at a movie theater, freezing his opponent solid with Freeze’s gun.
With the elder Predator safely imprisoned in the Batcave, Alfred invited Tim to come ot the cave and finally see a PRedator for himself, only for them both to be ambushed by the younger Predator. Returning just in time to prevent the Predator from killing Alfred and Tim, Batman negotiated a hostage exchange that allowed the Predator to take his wounded father and leave Gotham unmolested. When Tim asked why the Predators seemed so interested in the two of them, Batman theorized that the Predators saw him and Tim’s parental bond as a reflection of their own.
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