I haven't read either a Wolverine or a Predator book in ages, but I know a winning combination when I see one and I'm so glad I asked Andy (at Paradox Comics) to add Marvel's new miniseries, Predator versus Wolverine, to my pull list.
A testosterone-fuelled helping of brutality and gore that, thanks to the character-driven writing of Benjamin Percy, isn't gratuitous - as it could quite easily have been - but more a solidification of the old question: what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
Both Wolverine and the alien Yautja are regarded as the best at what they do and Percy has engineered a sporting showdown where we might, finally, get a definitive winner.
The comic kicks off in the present day Canadian wilderness, in media res, as the feud between the two killers - which has lasted well over a century - is possibly reaching its climax.
Then it flashes back to the Alaska territory, around 1900, and a young James Howlett - the future Logan and then Wolverine - is hunting to make ends meet and trying to avoid as much human contact as possible.
Forced into town, a small community called Scar, because of an impending storm, he tussles with some locals who want to know where he's hidden his valuable furs, then gets enlisted by a man claiming to be a prospector whose son has been kidnapped by his rivals.
At the same time as James and his companion are heading back out into the wilderness, a young Yautja has come to Earth for a ritual honour hunt, and after slaughtering its way through the local wildlife and a native village, it follows a trail that leads it to the same place as James.
After taking a battering, Howlett believes he has defeated this strange, inhuman foe and thinks no more of it...
Until many years later, when, along with fellow mutants Sabretooth and Maverick, he's a member of Team X sent into a nameless South American country to thwart a planned coup by guerrillas.
Instead they run into Howlett's old sparring partner... and the Predator isn't alone this time.
Fantastically illustrated by Ken Lashley, Greg Land, Jay Leisten, and Andrea Di Vitto (with colours by Juan Fernandrez and Frank D'Armata), Predator versus Wolverine #1 is action-adventure of the highest calibre, switching from Western wilderness survival to more modern jungle warfare just in this first issue.
As this comic is a crossover with 20th Century Studio' Predator franchise, I'm not entirely sure of the official canonicity of the tale, as regards the storied history of Wolverine, but - especially with the appearance of Sabretooth and company - this is now firmly rooted in my own headcanon.
I'll confess I was surprised how far the story jumped in time to its latter segment, in South America, and I was half-expecting an appearance from Dutch, Dillon, and the other characters from the original Predator movie.
But given how much Wolverine's memory was messed about with during his Weapon X days, I guess it's possible that some earlier encounters - after their initial Alaskan battle - might be slotted back in to the narrative.
This book is a chunky $7.99 opening salvo to a four-issue miniseries that has left me breathless from its nonstop action and wholly invested in the fates of its two headline stars.
I can't see Predator versus Wolverine resorting to the old superhero cliché of two Big Names fighting, then having to team-up to fight a bigger foe and eventually realising they have more in common than they first thought.
No, this is going to be a blood-spattered duel to the very end.