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Ultimate Stalker Predator

Predator 2
by yo go re

So why can't this toy glow in the dark?

The younger, more reserved of the two "Boar Brothers," Stalker is one half of the intergalactic mercenary duo known mostly from underworld rumors. Forced to flee their home at en early age due to an attack by a rival tribe, Stalker and Boar survived for years alone on their own with only one antoher to rely on. Becoming very good at surviving, they also became great thieves. Stalker, being the quiet meticulous type, would turn out to be the "brains" of the two, coming up with the plans, while Boar was more interested in the execution. Despite their combined skills, they would eventually get caught stealing from a dangerous Yautja Elder, known as Greyback. But instead of killing the youths, he decided to put their talents to use and trained them to be a part of his hunting tribe. Their first hunt, Los Angeles, was only to observe, but it wasn't long before they were sent on their own hunt, and because of their teamwork, proved to be a very effective duo. The brothers would later choose to remain off-world, taking dangerous jobs for hire ranging from protection, extraction, and exotic trophy hunting, all organized by Stalker, who had become a very cunning and strategic leader. This, combined with Boar's aggression and bravery, makes no mission too much for this tribe of two.

And so the NECA Predator Expanded Universe - or "NPEU" - continues to grow, combining what we know from the film (this Predator was part of the tribe that showed up at the end) with some fan-beliefs (this Predator and another Predator are brothers, "Yautja" is a real word) and then making up everything else. Even simply saying "he's smarter than Boar" is 1,000% more personality than he's ever had before. And then Tristan Jones' artwork for the front of the box delivers even more of a story, because if you look closely, it shows Stalker in the middle of a fight with a few Engineers! Love to hear that story!

Stalker has received a little bit of a physical upgrade - and no, we're not just talking about the fact that he uses the more highly articulated "Ultimate"-style body (though that is nice). Like before, he has sort of primal wraps on his forearms instead of armored bracers, and wears a short, pleated loincloth hanging in front of his normal groin-plate. Unlike Ultimate Scout, Ultimate Stalker still gets his little necklace, with the two small bones and the even smaller Predator helmet medallion.

What's new is the chest armor. Stalker used to go topless, with only armor on the outsides of his shoulders; now he's wearing armor just like any other Pred would (with the exception of Borg, who just loves shirts!), covering his pecs and his upper back. The style of it matches the pre-existing armor, making the bits that were already on the shoulders look like they were part of a planned set of gear, rather than two random parts. He still wears the purse slung over his shoulder that the old toy featured, though this time he's wearing it on the left, not on the right.

Since the masks were part of what differentiated all these Lost Tribe Predators to begin with, that part of the design remains the same. Stalker's mask comes to a beak-like point on the end, and there are bits over the sunken cheeks that look like vents. The top of the bio-mask is divided into three sections, and the brow is heavy enough that even if the eyes weren't black, they'd still get lost in shadow.

The original Lost Tribe only came with what was seen on-screen, which meant every figure had either a masked or unmasked face, not both; that's a cranial luxury reserved for these "Ultimate" figures. Stalker's head isn't a new sculpt - both it and the mask are the same Sinestro Corps Predator had - but the colors and markings are calculated to look like they belong with the orange, tiger-striped body we've always known.

The figure from nearly a decade ago only came with a closed throwing disc and a closed spear; by coming with both closed and open versions of both of those, this release is already doing better, but that's not where things stop. Since he's now wearing some armor, there's a spot for a backpack and gun to attach. This is a new style, a small pack with a notch for the gun to rest when it's not in use - and "in use" can mean either "pointed up over the shoulder" or "held in his hand," because (like the AvP:Requiem design) the actual gun part can detatch to become a personal pistol. Pretty neat! The set includes a blue blast effect that can plug into the barrel.

There's also something that the box refers to both as a "dart gauntlet" and a cover for the cannon, as if they were two separate accessories and not just one thing that can be used two ways. As a dart gauntlet, it fits onto Stalker's left forearm, like a less prosthetic version of the arm-cannon we'll be seeing on Guardian in a few months when the updated Ultimate gets released. When it's not on the arm, you can store it on the gun, which is presumably what the box meant by "cannon cover." There's also a human skull included, in case he wants a snack on the way home.

Borg got an extensive redesign and Scout got an amazing new weapon, while Stalker just gets some minor tweaks - at a glance, he might not look different at all. But just because the new additions aren't flashy, it doesn't mean they're not fun. Especially the new weapons.

-- 03/27/21

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