Review: Warframe #1: Convention Edition

One of my pet peeves about comic books is how they are used as adverts for something else.  You know when it happens; a new super group is introduced into an Avengers of Justice League book for a few issues: you get bought into it only for the story to actually end in issue 1 of “Super Power Team Book – Man, I Hope This Doesn’t Get Cancelled”.  And please, don’t even get me started how the status quo in the comics is changed to reflect the look of a blockbuster film. Comic book companies; pandering to the short term fans is not going to turn those fans into long-term fans who will continue to drop their hard earned dimes for your books?  So where does all this leave books like Warframe?

For those not in the know (I am one of those by the way), Warframe is free-to-play co-op third person shooter were you control a Tenno, who is an ancient warrior awoken from cryosleep and found themselves in a war with the Grineer.  Now that we have all caught up, onto the book.

Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady write a drifting monologue that encompasses the past and the present of one survivor of a Grineer attack.  Now blinded, she can no longer see her home, relying on what once was to guide her.  The desolation is almost total, yet that doesn’t stop the Grineer from wanting to take more, too destroy more.  Into the fray steps an angel of death in the shape of a Tenno, who battles on to save what is left of the city and this one young woman in particular.  Still, one battle a victory does not make as the Grinner lets loose the hounds of Ghouls to complete their mission.

Both Hawkins and Cady do well to imbue the book with a sense of character and possibly a sense of its online expansive world.  I would be interested to find out if either of them have played the game.  Regardless, in their hands we have  a book that I think satisfies those that do play the game as well as serving as a little taster for those yet to play.  Whilst the characters we are introduced to can certainly been seen as cliché, there is an amount of faith shown that I think gives the characters a bit of an edge, no more so than the female blind lead.

Putting the narrative aside for the moment, books like this need to look the part.  For that, Top Cow have gone out and hit Studio Hive to produce a painted bleak world, where the in the shadows lurk death and despair.  The battles shown in the book do so in a contrasting manner, making this one of the most darkly painted styled book I have seen for quite some time.  It is a style that suits the book well, but I wonder if it is in fact the art would be limiting in a larger story.  Stjepan Sejic provides a cover that demonstrates who to use dynamism to grab a reader attention.

All in all, an enjoyable read for fans and not yet fans alike.

Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4 Stars
Cover – 5 Stars

Written by: Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady based on an idea by Steve Sinclair
Art by: Studio Hive
Letters by: Troy Peteri
Cover by: Stjpan Sejic
Published by: Image Comics; Top Cow Productions

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