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Gears Of War by Joshua Ortega and Liam Sharp

1/07/2010. Contributed by RJ Barker

Buy Gears Of War in the USA - or Buy Gears Of War in the UK

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pub: Titan Books. 160 page graphic novel. Price: 14.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84856-482-4.

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Marcus Fenix and his squad are out in the wasteland looking for a lost squad of Gears in the badlands. Of course, there are things afoot in the badlands and the Gears find themselves fighting for their lives. New squad member Jace Stratton is dragged in the milieu and finds the lost souls around him carry memories of the losses he suffered as a child. Can he carry out the harsh work of a gear when he feels such a link to the struggling civilians around him? All the while, the locust horde burrow beneath.

I've read and reviewed both the 'Gears Of War' novelisations, 'Aspho Fields' and 'Jacinto's Remnant'. Both times I was disappointed. Not because they were bad books by any means but because they didn't supply the visceral combat that any gamer would expect from something linked with the GoW title. So I was curious to find out what the game writer, Joe Stratton, would supply in this graphic novel.

Fans of the game won't be disappointed. This is far, far nearer to the game. Full of blood and guts combat and told from the point of view of a new Gear with just enough back-story to be interesting but not enough to interrupt with the gunplay. The story is slight, the dialogue will feel familiar to anyone who's played the game as will the artistic style and there is some lovely art in this often atmospheric and a couple of pieces that fans of the ageism might want to buy an extra copy of the book so they can cut out and frame.

There are also some nice touches that make me laugh. An outpost in the middle of nowhere called 'Fucked' and Corporal Micheal Barrick who pays more than a passing resemblance to a certain Mr. Kilminster.

This is an excellent graphic novel for both fans of the game and fans of military SF.

RJ Barker

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