Review – Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Kurtis Wiebe
Artwork: Max Dunbar
Colourist: Jose Luis Rio
Letterer: Gilberto Lazcano
Release Date: 24th January 2018

I have to be completely honest and say upfront that my knowledge of the Gears of War franchise is extremely limited. I played a little of the first game on the Xbox and that’s about it. You’ll have to bear that in mind as this will frame the context of what I say in the review.

So what’s this series all about then? This issue introduces us to the Locust Raam, a headstrong but intelligent and cunning leader of a group of subterranean aliens fighting against a foe known as the Lambent.  Handily for people like me, there is a glossary at the back which let me translate all of these unfamiliar terms.

Unfortunately, this also highlights a bit of a stumbling block with the book; I’m not entirely sure I followed everything. That isn’t to say the writing is poor, if anything it does a pretty good job of carrying the plot along with all of the setting jargon. I’m just not sure if there were nuances or snippets of info that were lost on me. Hats off to Weibe for allowing me to follow the gist of the story though, despite my ignorance of the subject matter.

Whilst I might be coming off a little indifferent to the overall plot, the look of the issue is of a high standard throughout. The art, colouring, and lettering aren’t quirky or overly stylised, but the work that has gone into each panel is obvious. Given that this is backstory for an FPS franchise you’d expect a fair bit of violence and it’s handled really well. There’s plenty of gore and action but not the kind you’d be embarrassed about reading on the bus or train if someone looked over your shoulder.

Overall I’m positive about this comic but bottom line is that it really isn’t for me. Given it’s not aimed at me though, that shouldn’t put you off; this has everything I’d want in a tie-in. There’s a decent story, good visuals, an informative glossary (I’m a real geek for this sort of stuff and love the added depth and flavour a bit of language and world building bring), and the promise of more behind the scenes development chat which brings loads of value.

If you’re a fan of Gears of War or want to get into it, this will probably scratch that itch nicely.

Rating: 3/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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