Review: Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM #1
Written by: Kurtis Wiebe
Art: Max Dunbar
Colours: Jose Luis Rio
Letters: Gilberto Lazcano
Publisher: IDW Comics
‘The most iconic villain of the Gears of War universe takes the spotlight! Years before he became the bane of humanity on Emergence Day, RAAM rose through the ranks to take leadership of the Locust Horde armies thanks to his intelligence, strength, and ruthlessness. Now, witness that swift and brutal ascent in… The Rise of RAAM!’
With a huge and loyal following already in place, IDW’s new series on the GOW franchise should be an easy win. And sticking to the familiar tropes of high paced action, body-mangling violence, rampages across the poisoned carcass of alien planet Sera and an idiosyncratic vocabulary that regular fans will take as second nature, there’s not a lot that can go wrong here. The universe of the original game literally has endless possibilities and with conflict being the name of the game, the writers were never going to run short of a few ideas. So, without further delay, let’s dive in and face what has become, arguably, the greatest action game franchise of our time.
Our first installment in the new run kicks off mid action (where else?) with Raam and his loyal battalion of Locust grunts fighting back a Lambent attack on their heartland. The writing captures the grandeur of Raam’s self worth and the dialogue is littered with over-the-top, sombre language. This is sweary, space-age Shakespeare, no less, and at once creates a serious mood of cold-drudgery. This is further layered with aspects of politics from within the Locust themselves and the plot is peppered with intrigue. This darkens the mood further but even though we know Raam for the despicable villain he is, the predicament reveals another side to the cheeky chappy that we’re not usually privy to. Now I’m not saying we’re likely see a softer side, however, do expect to understand him and his actions that little bit better.
Artwise, the book looks great. Starting with the covers, we are immediately immersed in the techno-fantasy motifs, fully adorned with GOW logo, that we have come to expect from the franchise. The aliens look mean and pull an impressive pose at every given opportunity. The RI game-art cover, in particular, captures the dark menace of the content perfectly. Within the covers, the fine pencil work defines every attack by every alien and the action and violence truly erupts across the panels. A bright colour palate highlights the firefights and gore successfully. Equally successful are the shadows that adorn each dark corner of the cave network where most of the book is set. These shadows not only hold dangers and enemy eyes, but also carry the whispers of political dealings and back-stabbings. All in all, the book carries the GOW flag into the next era.
Overall, the series looks set to be blistering and the immediate onset of violence and hard-hitting dialogue surely is a sign of things to come. The books talks tough and looks awesome. Not only should fans of the GOW games rest assured that the formula hasn’t been tampered with, new fans will also have plenty of reasons to dig their teeth in. Buy it.
Skully’s Corner: Why buy this book? I love a good gore-fest and with thousands of alien intruders on the go, it’s not long before we get to see red, or should that be green? Either way, the comic gives us exactly what we would want from a GOW book. Hugely satisfying. 7.5/10
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Review written by Arun Sharma.
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