He Is Arisen!
Who remembers Raam? The giant behemoth of a Locust Horde leader all the way back from the first Gears of War game? Did he make you feel terror? Did he make you feel like the tiny, pathetic human that you are? Well guess what, he’s back! Sort of. IDW has just recently released Gears of War: The Rise of Raam which tells the tale of the fearsome warlord before the legend of Marcus Fenix.
Before E-Day (Emergence Day for those that don’t know – the day the Locust attacked human civilization) and the events of the first Gears of War, the Locust Hordes were already fighting a battle with creatures known as the Lambent, life forms infected by imulsion. Unfortunately, this war was not going well, and it seems Raam, leader of the Bloodied Vanguard, was the only one capable of seeing it. In a very Spartan-like mentality, Raam is frustrated that he will likely die fighting against a lost cause. Alongside Skorge, they make their way to the Inner Hollow to demand an audience with the Queen.
Raam wishes to boost the morale of his men by waging a new war, one that will be far easier than the one against the Lambent. He wants to take his war to the surface and claim the lands above. Humanity, Raam believes, is ripe for the picking given their exhaustive efforts in the Pendulum Wars, the easy defeat of humanity will give his people all the leverage they need to survive to return and take down the Lambent.
Uzil Sraak, a Locust high general, is as receptive as expected when Raam informs him that the war is lost. The news results in Sraak beating Raam within an inch of his life and telling him to return to the front line.
Exactly As Planned
Raam is no fool however. Listening to this exchange from the shadows was Queen Myrrah herself, and she is notably shaken by the information. Sraak assures her that all is well, but returning to Raam it is clear that he knew what he was doing in planting the seed of doubt in Myrrah so that he might obtain his goal. As things come to a close though, Raam’s team is attacked by a Lambent Corpser, and it is here that issue one leaves off.
The Rise of Raam is one of many in a long series of Gears of War themed comics. Together with the novels, I’ve been reading a number of them on and off over the course of the years that have passed since I started playing the Gears series. They’re not phenomenal in any sense of the word, but they pack all the charm and grizzled charisma as the games in most cases. In this case, The Rise of Raam is absolutely no different. Well, actually, it is different in one very specific regard.
To the best of my recollection this will be the first storyline told entirely from the perspective of the Locust. Raam and Skorge are featured mostly, being the leaders of the Bloodied Vanguard. Readers will get to see first hand the close bond between these two as they set off to plot a grand scale war against humanity. Their relationship is fresh to readers, but one might wonder if we will see parallels to the infamous pairing of Marcus and Dom as the series progresses. The story already does service to humanizing the Locust in ways fans may not have considered before. It will be exciting to see how this grows throughout the story arc.
More Gears, More Fun
The series is being written by Kurtis Wiebe, the mastermind behind the series Rat Queens which has been on my “To Read” list for quite a long time. As I insinuated earlier, Wiebe handles these characters well. The Locust Hordes may be more humanized on the pages of The Rise of Raam but they’re still as gut wrenchingly visceral as ever. Which is emphasized even more so through the art of Max Dunbar, who does a marvelous job of instilling action and motion in the frames of Raam where it might be most difficult otherwise. If I’m going to be completely honest, I’m a little sad that the introductory issue didn’t have more action in it because of this.
However, where it lacks in action it makes up for in plot, paving the way for bigger and better events to take place so that readers will have a good grasp of these familiar characters by the time the story is over. Also, given where issue one ends, I’m very excited to see some of the action that was missed here to appear in issue two.
Overall, while my time with The Rise of Raam is currently short, I enjoyed every moment of it. IDW is always able to deliver a good story I feel, and this being part of their library only furthers that sentiment. I’m loathe to wait another month for issue two, but I suppose that’s where things must stand until then.
If you haven’t yet, go and pick up Gears of War The Rise of Raam today. It’s out now from IDW, and should serve to add nicely to any Gears fan’s collection.
Final Verdict: 4 / 5
Gears of War The Rise of Raam was published and distributed by IDW on January 24th, 2018. Sale price $3.99
This review copy of Gears of War The Rise of Raam was given to HeyPoorPlayer by the publisher.