By Joshua Ortega (Writer), Liam Sharp (Artist), and Jonny Rench (Colorist)
Some Thoughts Before The Review: The creative team behind Gears of War has a lot of work to do in issue six if they want me to keep the series on my pull list. To say that last month’s issue disappointed me would be a pretty serious understatement. In fact, I’m fairly certain it earned one of the lowest grades I have ever given out.
The Story: The final chapter of “Hollow” is about Marcus and the gang battling their way out of the Montevado sinkhole. Things do not go smoothly. Especially in Jace’s case…
What’s Good and What’s Not So Good: Liam Sharp and Jonny Rench do a great job of clearly capturing the action, chaos, grit, and violence necessary to make the Montevado sinkhole battle feel like something that carries dramatic weight. And they needed to, because Gears of War #6 is quite forgettable as far as storytelling is concerned. It’s not that the story is poorly executed or written, it’s just that, bottom line, there really isn’t a whole lot of story to tell. What little there is exists merely to stage action scenes and bring some sort of conclusion to the first arc of the series.
I’m at a bit of a loss as to what to say regarding Joshua Ortega’s writing. His plot vehicle, Jace, has a decent amount of depth and a flair for dramatic narration, but it’s that very depth that makes the character feel out of place. Too much time is spent on Jace when everyone knows that it’s really the Marcus Fenix show. While it’s admirable that Ortega opted to expand the cast of the series, it’s questionable whether it was ultimately the right decision when the action-packed comic series feels so shallow. It’s not that I expected something deep, but I did hope that it would expand and add to the videogame mythos a bit more successfully.
Conclusion: While Gears #6 isn’t quite strong enough to stop the series from dropping off my pull list due to the weak storytelling, it’s not really the creative team’s fault. The visuals do the source material justice, the writing is decent enough despite the limits placed on it (considering that the series takes place in between games one and two), and, as a whole, the book proves to be an entertaining piece of sci-fi action. I recommend it to fans of the game, but urge those checking it out to keep expectations realistic.