By Joshua Ortega (Writer), Liam Sharp (Artist), and Jonny Rench (Colors)

Some Thoughts Before The Review: Being a fan of the Xbox 360 series, the Gears of War comics are something of a guilty pleasure for me. The artwork in them effectively captures the gritty violence of the game’s world and action, while the tough-guy dialogue works well enough to keep the books entertaining enough to read. I wish the Gears series had a bit more story and depth, but then again I had a fairly solid idea of what I was getting into when I picked up the first issue.

The Story: Marcus, Jace, Dom, and Barrick find themselves trapped underneath the rubble of the ruined city of Montevado. With the area unstable and crawling with creatures, the separated COGs must find a way out of the dangerous mess. The situation offers up the opportunity for the reader to learn a little more about Jace as well.

What’s Good: To be honest, there isn’t much about Gears #5 that is particularly memorable. The action comes across well and the situation the COGs find themselves in by the end of the issue is appropriately hopeless (and potentially exciting), but beyond that there just isn’t a whole lot worth mentioning. And that’s something of a shame because the creative team puts in some pretty decent work…

What’s Not So Good: The pretty decent work ultimately fails to amount to much. I understand that for the most part, Gears of War is all about mindless action. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to actually advance the storyline once in a while. I mean, I love bloody action as much as the next guy, but it gets tiresome when it seems as though that’s all that is holding the series together. There has to be some driving force moving things along. Unfortunately, I have pretty much stopped caring what that force is at this point. As a result, I just found the penultimate chapter of the first Gears arc to be quite boring.

Conclusion: While I will be sticking around to see how the “Hollow” story concludes thanks to the fairly strong finish of chapter five, I can’t help but be disappointed with things as a whole. The creative team definitely gets the appeal of Gears and successfully translates it to the page, but the whole thing just feels empty without a compelling story. Maybe things will turn around next month, but I will be sure to keep my expectations in check.

Grade:  C-

-Kyle Posluszny