How in the world do you write a comic around a simple arena shooter like Quake Champions? You have to be very clever and very imaginative to make the most of that scenario. You have to be writer Ram V.

The Quake Champions graphics novel by Titan Comics collects the three-issue series of the same name. The series is not told from one point of view but instead a multitude of combatants who are trapped in a kill-or-be-killed landscape. Each has their own story and each has their own reasons for battling for survival in the nightmare world.

There is Ranger, a human Slipgate marine with a big gun who just wants to get back to his family waiting for him on the other side.

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Sorlag is a ruthless reptilian alien who was accidentally pulled into the ruthless murderworld.

There is Anarki (Get it?) a hoverboard riding cybernetic assassin and his girlfriend Slash, a roller queen with a mean streak.

There is Galactic Warlord Scalebearer who is armored and armed to the teeth, Nyx, the female assassin, Clutch a self-aware mining automaton turned killing machine and Visor a sightless cyborg who is impervious to pain.

The twist to the killing ground is anyone who is slain respawns making their lives truly a never-ending nightmare.

The story begins with Ranger and Sorlag in a life or death duel in the arena. Through a black and white photograph Ranger carries with him, we learn of his time as a soldier and his life as a proud father, & family man. This, of course, increases the emotional investment we have in Ranger as he runs into the maniacal Anarki and the lethal Slash. As they enter the fray we are introduced to their backstory of how the couple became this comic’s Sid and Nancy.

As more and more characters join the fracas, the story progresses and we discover more and more about the battleground and its true purpose.

Along with Ram V’s compelling characters, the artwork by Alan Quah and Dave Ross is dramatic and spectacular. Quah and Ross’s gorgeously disturbed visions bring beauty to even the most dreadful and outlandish scenes. In that way, it is reminiscent of HR Giger’s work in some respects. Quake Champions is worth buying just for the grotesquely gorgeous work of Quah and Ross alone.

The only real flaw of the collection is that it concludes with a cliffhanger ending just as some of the mysteries surrounding the battleground were about to be revealed.

Ram V has made the very most of the simplistic concept he was given, making a shrewd choice of basing much of the story outside the arena, therefore, breaking free of the setting’s constraints. Whether you are a gamer, a comic book reader or both, Quake Champions could be one of the crown jewels of any collection.

Incredible artwork
Skilled storytelling
Appeals to gamers and comic book fans alike
The collection ends on a cliffhanger

Review Summary

From the story to the pencils to the dialogue, Quake Champions is an impeccable piece of art.

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