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Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM #1 Review

Gears of War gets a prequel series this week focused on the villain RAAM.

Kurtis Wiebe
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Gears Of War is a video game I remember fondly, but I was never as addicted to as some of my friends. The mechanics were fresh, the graphics detailed, and the gore ridiculous. Now the series is being turned into a comic book series from IDW focused on the bad guys.

So what’s it about?

Read our preview.

Why does this matter?

The creative team on this book is one to watch. Kurtis Wiebe is a writer who has done some great series like horror comic Green Wake and artist‎ Max Dunbar did great things with Slash & Burn. It’s also interesting to see the villain get the spotlight.

Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?

Not a registered dentis.

Right out of the gate this series lets you know it’s for adults only. The gore is incredibly graphic and there is swearing too. It makes sense given this series, but also because we’re seeing the villain’s perspective. There are a few action scenes to enjoy and action aficionados should dig Dunbar’s art which keeps the violence set to ultra.

This is a prequel, so there’s an added benefit of knowing we get to see the villain’s journey before the games took place. At its core, this book is about how RAAM rose up from what this comic reveals to be a lower standing amongst his people. Wiebe sets the stage for a hero’s journey (even if he’s only a hero among his people), which makes the protagonist likeable and interesting. The dialogue has a uniqueness similar to formal speech which helps establish this is a different world we’re peering into.

Kill it with fire!

It can’t be perfect can it?

This issue has to do a lot of work to establish the politics of RAAM and his people as well as what is going on with the humans. I’m not familiar with every game, but seeing as this is a prequel I got the sense I should have been. There’s a lot of exposition–and expositional dialogue–to dig through in this issue and that ended up dragging things down. There’s a good bit of action, but there’s a lot of talking done to establish plot and character. The problem is it doesn’t seem all that complicated to warrant so much exposition and set up. The characters end up being somewhat flat too. They’re killers who enjoy the hunt, but there isn’t much more there besides ambition in them. That makes following RAAM and his trusty right hand Skorge less interesting.

Is It Good?

If you came to this series looking for ultra violence you’ve come to the right place. This book doesn’t hold back within the action and killing as it establishes the war RAAM went through to take the control we know well from the video games.

Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM #1
Is it good?
A good first issue that delivers the ultra violence we've come to expect from this series.
Sharp art with great violence and gore
Establishes RAAM's story in a heroic way
Great for Gears fans!
There's a lot of telling and not a lot of showing as this issue sets up the politics and relationships
The main character is clearly being put on a hero's journey, but he's also kinda flat and boring

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