Thursday, 27 October 2016

Conclave Review: Warhammer 40k Comic - Will of Iron

It's a long time since Warhammer Monthly, GW's main foray into the world of comics. WHM was, over the course of its 83 issue run (86 in America for some reason) responsible for the introduction of several memorable characters and series. Ephrael Stern, Inquisitor Defay, The Redeemer, Princeps Hekate, Hellbrandt Grimm, Ulli and Marquand, Darkblade, the list goes on and on. Launched back in the early days of Black Library towards the end of the last millennium, it ran for a good few years before the plug was pulled, sadly leaving many characters fates untold (I still bemoan the fact we never got Inquisitor III)

Then a few years back Boom Studios released a series of 40k and Warhammer titles, whereas WHM had been black and white (bar a special issue) these were full colour and rather than an ongoing series they were miniseries, self contained and more or less unrelated to each other. The artwork varied as different artists Lent their talents to different titles but as a rule it was dark and gritty though not entirely without moments of light entertainment, The series where a guardsman gets covered in green goo and  is mistaken by an Ork Warlord for  a 'lucky grot' is particularly worth a read.

Now it is Titan's turn to have a go, with a seemingly 40k only effort. Again it seems to be miniseries based rather than ongoing, a decision I heartily endorse. The first title is Will of Iron, a preview issue was included free in October's White Dwarf.  The art was nice but very starkly coloured and the story seemed standard fare.

Well I have my hands on the first proper issue now and can review it properly so let's have a look.
The first thing that might strike you is that the book is still very colourful, this was something that i picked up on from the preview and it appears that it is destined to continue here. The style is extremely saturated which renders the look of the comic very cartoony. Grimdark it aint. The art is perfectly serviceable though and the layout of the panels is good and propels the narrative where needed.

However, this is one of those works where it is very obvious that the artist has just used models as reference, all the character models are the same as the miniatures, no artistic license has been utilised at all. Previous titles always had a little more creativity that made the title stand out as a work of art akin to something you might find in a mainstream GW book. Here it adds to the sterility of the atmosphere I would have liked to have seen a little more creativity rather than just carbon copies of existing miniatures on paper.

Another thing that betrays that the artist is possibly not a aficionado of the 40k universe and is instead a pen for hire is the mistakes that have been made in the art. The most striking of which is that the Inquisitor in the story travels in a Space Marine Battlebarge whilst the Astartes appear to be onboard a normal imperial cruiser. A glaring error and one which goes some way to kill the immersion in the book. A look at the preview for the next issue reveals more of the same where a Heresy Flashback seems to show modern Godwyn pattern bolters being used. It's little annoyances like this that make you wish the artist had done their homework a little more thoroughly, rather than just using reference material and transferring it to the page. Despite all this though the art is of a decent quality and there are highlights throughout the issue,

The story, such as it is at the moment, appears to be based around the Dark Angels wanting to get to a planet to cover up some evidence of their closely protected secrets and the Inquisitor determined to prevent the same and expose the Dark Angels. Whilst it has potential it's nothing particularly groundbreaking and very much has an air of familiarity around it. Fingers crossed as the story develops it will throw a few twists our way.

So overall Will of Iron is a decent effort. It's really a bit early to say how it's going to go and what will happen but certainly ill stick around for at least the end of this 4 issue arc. If it were an ongoing series i'd have to reconsider as I'm not entirely sure the title warrants a long term commitment based upon what i have seen so far, of course it is entirely possible that once this 4 issue miniseries is over the next could be starkly different. If that should be the case rest assured it will be reviewed here.

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