Games Workshop’s Warhammer 40,000 games setting has been with us since 1987. Gothic aesthetics, iconic Space Marines and over-the-top violence have earned it a place in the pantheon of popular sci-fi universes. Beyond an info dump about the mission, these issues assume you know the history of the Imperium. Fans can expect a few Easter Eggs: an orang-utanlike Jokaero, the deployment of Imperial Knights, and one of our viewpoint characters wearing the beaky Mark VI “Corvus” armour. George Mann’s sparsely-worded story sees the Dark Angels visit the Calaphrax Cluster after 10,000 years away, conscious it conceals a secret from the past.
It’s fatiguing to read characters talk in proclamations like “Suffer not the warpspawn to live!” But this is core to the cyber-medieval vibe and you get used to it. It can be a challenge sympathising with grandiose, masked characters, but the comic strives to make you care by ditching the vast armies of the game and zooming to the personal level. It succeeds especially well with cynical fauxElizabethan inquisitor Sabbathiel.
The art is vivid, glowing with a curiously retro quality. Some gory panels aside, it’s a fraction too bright and cartoon-like given the bleak setting. We’ll definitely devour the next volume, but it’s a slight affair so far; the character beats are a little understated and the narrative ends abruptly. Full of wonder, though: it works. Dave Bradley
Warhammer 40K fans will love it. Newbies may feel a bit lost.