The premiere issue of Gears of War: Rise of RAAM has an extraordinary and striking cover by Ryan Brown. Besides that, the IDW book doesn’t have much going for it.
For those who don’t recall their Gears lore, RAAM is the final boss in the original game. Yeah, that big bad bozo on the moving train with all those annoying bats flying around him. He was the supreme leader of the Locust army obsessed with not only destroying all humans but the Lambent too.
Gears of War: Rise of RAAM chronicles his rise through the Locust ranks to become the merciless leader that he was. He is accompanied by some sidekicks who provide most of the comic relief and that comic relief is desperately needed as RAAM gives Kratos a run for his money when it comes to being the grumpiest, angriest, meanest cuss around.
While the book starts out with some frenzied and gory action as RAAM and other troops battle Lambent, it soon devolves into monotonous internal politics and strife. After addressing some troops, RAAM hikes to the Royal Palace seeking an audience with the Queen which does not go well at all.
Kurtis Wiebe’s plot could have definitely used some more intrigue and more energy, yet it is Max Dunbar’s art and Jose Luis Rio’s drab colouring that sinks everything Wiebe is trying to accomplish. Dunbar’s art is more like casual sketches than polished work. It looks unfinished and there is so much missing detail in the characters and in the settings. Perhaps if it were vibrantly coloured or more heavily inked instead of the muted, bland tones Jose Luis Rio used, the art would have stood out.
Wiebe does pull the curtain back on more of the Locust and Lambent history which could be interesting for some Gears fans but one wonders if this was a story that needed to be told. With the humans relegated to supporting characters much of the attraction is gone for me. The Locust and Lambent’s stories are not what drew me to Gears in the first place. These aliens are not like the Xenomorphs in the Alien movies. Frankly, they aren’t that thought-provoking as their culture and civilization are not that different from that of the humans who live above ground on Sera. Because of this, I am only curious about their origins and not their modern day or recent struggles.
The Gears of War DC series (under the Wildstorm imprint) in 2008 was far more comprehensive and far more meticulous in its artwork and storytelling. For those who wish to learn more about Marcus Fenix, Delta Squad and Gears lore in general, I would recommend picking up those Wildstorm collections by Joshua Ortega and Mike Capps instead and giving this series a hard pass unless the quality makes a marked improvement in future issues.
- THE GOOD
- THE BAD
- Dull artwork.
- Dull colouring.
- A story that needed more punch.
Not much to say when the key elements that excite the imagination of any comic book or gaming fan are just so flat.