It’s another explosive opening, filled with blood, guts and bullets, and something I truly welcome as a perfect fit with the theme at play here.
We are only two issues into Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM, and I am already utterly captivated by it. As a long-time fan of the video game franchise it is perhaps easier for me to succumb to the brutal charm of a comic that offers an alternative view of a world I’ve known for some considerable time. However, the unfolding story and characters are so well written and fleshed out, that I firmly believe I would have fallen for it regardless of any previous infatuation.
In The rise of RAAM, we are given a look at the flipside of the Gears of War coin. Here we witness the beginnings of a figure previously viewed as an enemy through the scopes of a sniper rifle back in the original game. But what an enemy he was, and what a character he is becoming in these pages.
If issue one introduced us to the main players and savage brutality of the world they inhabit, issue two begins to forge the way ahead for further potential brutality and warfare, but now with a dash of political intrigue. We open with an epic battle between RAAM, his soldiers, and a heavily armoured and utterly gargantuan Corpser. It’s another explosive opening, filled with blood, guts and bullets, and something I truly welcome as a perfect fit with the theme at play here.
But, we also have a chapter that in some respects lightly echoes the likes of Game of Thrones and Vikings. We have a political undercurrent of alliances being formed and boundary lines drawn ahead of a potential civil war. RAAM seeks out Karn in a bid to find an ally, whilst also sending his sidekick, Skorge, to the religious epicentre, the Temple of the Trinity, a place Skorge was banished from and branded apostate. Here he is to plant seeds of doubt within the religious leader, Ketor Vrol. It proves a very interesting read and moves the story along at a solid pace from an already strong opener.
There are certainly some elements in the writing, and often concerning the workings of this universe that went completely over my head, and at times left me momentarily lost, but, these are forgivable as I found that the strength of the overall package and drive of the main plot line carried me through the occasional turbulence given off from my lack of Gears lore knowledge.
The artwork is once again perfectly in tune with the Gears of War theme. The dark, bleak landscape is captured wonderfully, the locust species of which RAAM is a part are actually given character and emotion within their faces, which is one hell of an achievement, and as previously, the unrelenting nature of battle is a beautiful sight on the page.
I really enjoyed the opening issue in The Rise of RAAM, but I am deeper in love after this second outing. Issue #2 adds layers of intrigue to the action, takes us deeper again into a previously untouched land, and cements further foundations to the idea that RAAM is going to be an unforgettable character with which to take this journey. Roll on issue #3!