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by Monkey Boy

NECA's use of the Predators license has been massively successful. They covered the main ones (in every possible variation), they released every Pred from the Lost Tribe, they did a fan film, they started remaking Kenner designs, and now they're debuting new characters before anyone else!

In his prime, Ahab took deadly trophies from countless worlds, his scars a proud record of glorious battle. Now an elder of his tribe, he leaves small game to the next generation as he looks to his final hunt. Following a lifelong obsession, Ahab searches for a creature more formidable than any Predator has ever faced before.

Yes, yes, Ahab is clearly a Moby Dick reference, we get it. Hunting, obsession, gobs of whale semen, all that. Whatever. Doesn't matter. The important thing is that this Predator is a new character who will be debuting in the Aliens/​Predator/​Prometheus three-way crossover "Fire and Stone" that starts next month. A Weyland-Yutani scientist named Galgo will start out in the Prometheus book, then go to AvP, and will eventually be the main character for Predator, which is intended as a return to form from the first two movies: one implacable hunter and his prey.

Speaking of a return to form, Ahab's body is almost entirely the same as the Jungle Hunter Predator - the only difference is that Uncle Ahab has the non-netted left arm from the Elder Predator. Well, non-netted upper arm: the lower arm still has that lingering sculpt between the elbow and control pad. If NECA had redone that bit when Elder came out, it would be paid off by now. Oh well, it's a minor problem anyway. His skintone is paler than previous Preds... almost human, as strange as that sounds. It gets darker on the hands and on his back, of course, but Ahab is still a Predator in need of a tan. His armor is mostly silver, with a bit of green tarnish painted on as well. He has a single large skull with two tusks hanging on a cord around his neck, as can be seen on the comic covers that have been revealed so far. Of course, the covers also show him with three wrist blades instead of just two, while the toy sticks with the standard number.

But that's okay, because it makes up for that shortcoming in other ways. Namely, by delivering something we've all wanted since the very first Predator NECA ever made: he has a removable helmet! Wait, this news is so exciting, it warrants two exclamation points: he has a removable helmet!! Yeah, that's better. It'd probably be three exclamation points if not for Nightstorm.

NECA has always maintained that putting a removable helmet on their Predators would throw off the scale: either the head would be too small, or the mask would be too large. And yes, Ahab does have a little bit of a "bobblehead" thing going on, but it's a little bit; we'd gladly have dealt with this on every masked Pred they've released between 2008 and today. Shrink the unmasked head by 5%, make the mask as thin as possible while maintaining structural integrity, and you've got a winner!

The helmet has a smooth dome forehead, a ridge on the brow, and ornate, layered cheeks with round ports on the side. The mouth area is open slightly, allowing us to see Ahab's mandibles within. The entire helmet has a rough, pitted texture, and there are battle scars over the right eye. The interior of the mask is as heavily detailed as the exterior, which seems superfluous, but why complain? They've painted the inside of the mask's eyes red, too!

The face beneath the helmet tells a story as soon as you see it. He's got a fairly average face (for a Predator), with his mandible closed so his mask will fit on. His right eye is completely gone, replaced by just a mass of scar tissue. Apparently the same fight that cost him his eye also tore away his upper right fang, because he's only got three left. This is a Predator who's been in some wicked battles in the past and come out the other side.

Ahab has the same articulation as the rest of the current Predators: a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel/hinge elbows, balljointed wrists, a swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, swivel thighs, double-hinged knees, and balljointed ankles. Plus the wrist blades slide forward, and the gun mounted on his shoulder has a hinge and a balljoint.

The backpack is removable, if you want, and he comes with a variation on the Predator 2 spear that sees one end replaced with a larger, flatter blade, making this more like a halberd. The weapon is mostly silver, with a bit of brown in the center.

I got this SDCC exclusive because I thought it was cool that they were getting to debut a character (and because it had been too long since I got a Predator), but the more I read about the comic it's based on, the more awesome that sounds, too! The "oversized" helmet is barely noticeable in person, and the scarred face is excellent. This is a really nice exclusive and I'm glad to have it.

-- 08/27/14

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