Epeolatry Book Review: Aliens vs. Predators – Ultimate Prey ed: Jonathan Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt

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Title: Aliens vs. Predators – Ultimate Prey
Editors: Jonathan Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt
Publisher: Titan Books
Genre: Space Horror
Release Date: 1st March, 2022

Synopsis: Fifteen new and original stories for a first-of-its-kind anthology, set in the expanded Aliens vs. Predators Universe. 

Here the ultimate hunters, the Predators, pitted against their ultimate prey, the Xenomorphs from Alien, with humans caught in the middle! Taking place on Earth and in distant space, these tales have been crafted by a who’s who of today’s most talented authors of the fantastic:

David Barnett – Roshni “Rush” Bhatia – Curtist C. Chen – Delilah S. Dawson – Mira Grant – Susanne L. Lambdin – Jess Landry – Yvonne Navarro – E.C. Myers – Scott Sigler – Maurice Broaddus – Chris Ryall – Bryan Thomas Schmidt – Steven L. Sears – Jonathan Maberry and Louis Ozawa.

Inspired by the events of the original Aliens vs. Predators movies, graphic novels, and novels, these are the ultimate life-and-death struggles. Including a new story written by Jonathan Maberry and Louis Ozawa (“Hanzo” from the movie Predators) as Hanzo’s brother faces the eternal threats of both the Yautja and the Xenomorphs.

When you start throwing crazy ideas like having Aliens vs Predators there are all kinds of things that can go right (like the original comic books from the late ‘80s and early ‘90s that featured the idea) to wrong (those films that… Yeah…)

This collection brings us 15 stories that examine the premise brought to us by the guiding hands of editors Jonathan Maberry and Bryan Thomas Schmidt. Not only do we get some creative new takes on the subject but if you were a huge fan of ‘Predators’ and wondered what happened after the film, Maberry teamed up with Louis Ozawa who played Hanzo in the film to explore what life for his brother was like after the film.

Both the Alien and Predator franchises have given us strong women throughout and if you’ve loved that piece of the worldbuilding, it is quite prevalent here and is clearly shown off in the first story that also includes some quite-on-the-nose social commentary. The stories are set in various time periods though you’ll see a lot of commentary throughout.

This is probably where I should add the disclaimer as I used to work with one of the authors in this collection. Jess Landry gives us a really fun tale in “Carbon Rights” that brings us a very mysterious plot that is hard to comment on without giving away the big reveal. This one could very well be my favorite work in the entire anthology.

Maberry and Ozawa do a great job in Kyodai at showing how Eiji is similar to his brother in some ways while quite different in others. It was a solid follow-up that fleshed out Hanzo, who was one of the most interesting characters in Predators, in a way that the film would have truly benefited from.

Aside from the sequel from Maberry and Ozawa, we see another follow-up in Scott Sigler’s “Another Mother.” In it, fans of his ‘Aliens: Phalanx’ story will be diving right in for a fantastic read!

Overall, I rather enjoyed ‘Aliens vs. Predators – Ultimate Prey.’ The authors take us on a wild ride covering a variety of aspects of seeing Predators face off against Aliens with humans thrown into the mix. I couldn’t give it a perfect score as many of the story beats feel like formulas that have already been used in other comics, books, and beyond. Even with that in mind, this is a great read for fans of Aliens and Predators and will keep you hooked throughout!

/5

Available from Amazon and Bookshop.

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