Horizon Zero Dawn fans can finally get their hands on some new content. The new comic series, based on the popular PlayStation exclusive, is releasing today. And, with the series set to fill the gap between the first game and Horizon Forbidden West, it’s worth taking a look at what we can find out from this new material.
A free introduction
Firstly, the first issue of the series isn’t actually where the story begins, although it’s easy to start there. A Free Comic Book Day Issue #0 was released for the series in July. This comic begins directly after the end of the first game and shows how Talanah (a friend of Aloy) ends up adventuring on her own. As well as this, this comic provides some little bits of info on tribes not seen in the original game. With mentions of both the Utaru and Tenakth, we might find out more about these tribes soon.
Tale of Talanah
Now, time for the actual first issue. As you might have gathered, the story of the comic focuses on Talanah, lethal huntress, and Sunhawk of the Hunters Lodge. Beginning with a hunt for a new type of machine, a Clawstrider, the story introduces various new characters in quick succession. The first half of the issue deals mostly with the politics of the Lodge. And, for this reason, it’s mostly quite dull. The comic is at its best with its combat scenes, and when these are absent, it becomes quite slow. For those that aren’t interested in the tribal politics of Horizon’s world, the comic might feel quite stale.
An odd change of scenery
The writer, Anne Toole, seems to understand that Horizon Zero Dawn is at its best when Aloy is involved. However, the way in which she brings Aloy into the story seems odd at best, and downright confusing at worst. Out of nowhere, the reader goes from a conversation between Talanah and another character to a hunt for Ravagers with Aloy. Yet, the time frame of this hunt is off. In the Issue #0 comic, Aloy is seen setting out from Meridian alone. Yet, this scene seems like a flashback of sorts, with Talanah reminiscing. To further confuse readers, the dialogue suggests that this takes place after the first half of the book. This narrative puzzle hurts the second half of the book, which features some nice combat sections. The writing is at its best when it does less, not more; lengthy dialogue ruins the fast-paced action of the world of Horizon Zero Dawn.
Perhaps the best part of the book is the art. Ann Maulina does an excellent job of giving a sense of both the detail and movement of the machines. Moreover, her action scenes and panels are excellent throughout. Each panel of Talanah or Aloy taking down a dangerous machine takes readers back to the game, and memories of some of its best fights. Without the art to carry some of the comic’s slower moments, it could have become a much tougher read.
All in all, the comic has the same weakness as the original game: weak side characters and side stories. Without the main narrative of exploration surrounding Aloy, this issue can feel dull and convoluted. However, with Aloy’s return in the second half of Issue #1, we might hopefully get a stronger story in the coming issues. Oh, and the art is fantastic.
For more Horizon Zero Dawn content, be sure to check out the DLC The Frozen Wilds. Or, keep checking in for our reviews of the comic series.
- THE GOOD
- Brilliant artwork
- Interesting main characters
- Well written action scenes
- THE BAD
- Weaker side characters
- Stagnant story
- Odd change scene change in the middle