Warham­mer 40,000

Comic Heroes - - Comics We Rate -

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.

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