One of the many pleasures of the New York Comic Con is the oodles of free stuff (or "swag") which can be had simply by passing the right booth at the right time. Publishers as well as film/TV production studios large and small are on hand to offer freebies to promote their latest venture and/or get you interested in actually buying something or spreading word online. Reviewing it all would prove to be a Herculean task, but passing by the Orsa Comics and Reinventing Films booth earned an interesting prize: a free one shot comic called "Prey".
Technically called "Prey: The Beginning: Special Edition", the one shot is written by Curtis Clark and drawn and colored by Joel Crawford and Talent Caldwell from a premise and character created by Nathan Reid. Offering 21 pages of story with some quaint local ad pages in between, it's technically longer than many comics Marvel and DC would (and have) charged $3.99 for. Three artists also provided three variant covers for the giveaway issue, proving that such a fad remains even beyond major publishers.
This issue sets up the premise and introduces the central character of "Prey". The fictional Cathedral City is "an easy place to be a bad guy" with empty streets, dark skies and perpetually clouds skies. A random trucker finds himself running afoul of Prey, a hulking man with long hair and a longer trench coat who has the ability to not only make one relive one's sins, but to draw the angry souls of their dead victims to them. It turns out the trucker has killed numerous women in his travels and thanks to Prey, their ghosts seek their revenge upon the man, ultimately leading to his death at the guns of assembled cops. Before setting out after another creep (a child killer), Prey relives his past in a church and narrates his origin to the reader. In life he was Daniel, a mafia hit man who was little better than many of the sleaze-balls he faced until he dies during a shoot out while trying to save an innocent child from being slain in the melee. His one good act seemed to have caught some sort of divine intervention as he's since been reborn as a servant to ghostly vengeance.
To be blunt, the biggest dilemma with the premise that it may remind many people of "Ghost Rider", the "spirit of vengeance" whose powers involve making evil doers relive their sins and become consumed by them. It doesn't help that one of the covers makes Prey look like the wrestler "the Undertaker". That said, "Prey" alters enough that it does come off as distinct, as "Prey" doesn't exactly take down the bad guys himself, but serve to make them "prey" for the angry ghosts of their own victims; he's more "Ghost Avenger" than "Ghost Rider". The artwork by Crawford and Caldwell is quite good, capturing the dark tones and themes of the series while offering simple line work for the action and ghost effects. Prey's narration is a bit heavy handed, but right at home with those familiar with the work of Frank Miller. However, within 21 pages, the story allows Prey to take down two villains as well as lay out his origin story simply and effectively; one can easily find some "big two" comic franchises that struggle to pull that off in double or triple that page count.
"Prey" is more than a freebie comic book, however. It is an independent supernatural action film being produced by Reinventing Films which stars Tyler Mane as Prey/Daniel and Oded Fehr as "Righteous", among other lesser known actors. Tyler Mane may best be known as Sabretooth in 2000's "X-Men" and as Michael Myers in the 2007-2009 reboot of the "Halloween" horror films, after an off and on wrestling career with WCW wrestling from 1986-1996. He's had a series of smaller roles in TV shows or made for DVD films ever since, but this could be another shot at starring in something comic fans recognize. Oded Fehr is a longtime character actor in terms of live action and voice over animation roles, including many roles in comic book related cartoons such as "Justice League", "Batman: The Brave and the Bold", "Young Justice", and "Ultimate Spider-Man". The movie is filming now with an unknown release date. At any rate, judging from its promotional comic, it's no worse than no end of films which get released in theaters or DVD rental shops every weekend, and appeals to fans of supernatural revenge thrillers.