Advance Review – God of War #1 (Dark Horse Comics)

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Script: Chris Roberson
Artwork: Tony Parker
Colours: Dan Jackson
Lettering: John Roshell (Comicraft)
Release Date: 14th November 2018

Set before the events of the recent well-received Sony video game, Dark Horse’s new God of War comic series sees Kratos trying to put his god-slaying days behind him, carving out a quiet life for himself in the Norse wilds with his family.  However, when his vow of peace is discarded to help a stranger from being mauled by a terrifying bear-like creature, he inadvertently sparks off a chain of events that may return him to his old ways faster than he’d like.

As video game adaptations go, this feels undeniably authentic, but unfortunately it also doesn’t really seem to have anything much to say — for the time being, at least. Writer Chris Roberson teases a potentially interesting story, and the attempts at anger management by Kratos provide an interesting baseline for the series, but it all feels a little lacking for the most part, at least until the final couple of pages.

It also feels like Santa Monica Studio have had some heavy influence on the narrative, with Roberson’s contributions only seeming to be enough to earn him a “script” credit here.  It’s a bit of a shame given the iZombie creator’s impressive track record, and while he does a solid job with some suitably gruff and pointed dialogue from Kratos, it all feels a little more restrained and safe than I’d like.

On the visual side of things, the artwork from Tony Parker is fairly dynamic throughout, but also feels a little restrained, almost sterile at times for what should probably be a more visually gritty and violent world. That said, the brief flurries of action are impressively rendered, and do a great job of recreating the video game’s distinctive hand-to-hand combat style.

As I mentioned above, the final pages offer hope that we’re going to be moving in an intriguing new direction as the series unfolds, so there’s definitely the potential that this series can break out of the glut of uninspired video game comic book cash-ins in recent years.  If the creative team are given enough free rein to showcase their skills the outlook is definitely bright, but for the time being, there’s not a whole lot to get too excited about for even the most die-hard God of War fans.

It isn’t great, it isn’t awful, it just… is.

Rating: 2.5/5.

ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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