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Warhammer 40,000: Fire & Honour #3

Posted: Thursday, November 13, 2008
By: Alex Rodriguez

Graham McNeill
Tony Parker, Lisa Lubera (c), Veronica Gandini (c)
BOOM! Studios
I have to say that with the pleasant surprise that was issue #2 of this series, I had higher expectations for issue #3 than I would have normally. Unfortunately, this comic did not really merit that bout of confidence. This issue takes off right where issue #2 left us. The 71st Cadians Blazer Company escaped the battle that ensued at the base and are now trying to get out of range of the jamming signal so as to contact High Command and inform them of the traitor among them. In the meantime, they are running out of fuel and the Tau are after them. While they are stopped for refueling, the company is ambushed and a new battle has begun.

Now donít be fooled, the summary is a lot more exciting than the comic. This issue could have contained significantly more substance than it provides. The question lies on who is to blame for this. There are enough unnecessary panels in this book to remove a quarter of it. There are too many panels that only have one speech balloon that do not merit the importance of getting their own panel. Many, and I mean many, panels could have easily been merged together to contain a complete dialogue between characters while maintaining the complete integrity of the page. Frankly, it may even have helped the issue. What is intended to add drama and emphasis to each and every word exchanged by the members of the 71st Cadians Blazer Company succeeds only at making the reader feel as though the creative team was unable to figure out a way to fill the 22 pages of the issue.

Normally, I find it most appropriate to discuss the art and the writing separately, but the problems with this issue are so interconnected that it wouldnít be fair to either to do this in such a fashion. The blame here is equal. I'm a sucker for detail, but this is overkill. I understand the need to capture every expression on our protagonistsí faces but there has to be a limit. This is a comic book, not a movie. Unlike in a movie where the camera slides from one person talking to the next and then back in a matter of seconds, when you try to do this in a comic book format (unless you exercise a style similar to the television interviews in The Dark Knight Returns) you are wasting precious pages that could be utilized for more story development, especially when the panels are of such a large scale. Unless the panels are condensed to fit a good amount per page, the only thing that is accomplished by paneling each and every line separately is give the reader the illusion that you are trying to kill time. To further compound this problem there are two pages showing the same landscape, one with fog and the other without. The pages run one right after the other. Both of which are given an entire page. Had these two images been condensed onto one page, at least one extra page could have been freed for more story. Now, to further compound the compounding, each had only one speech balloon per page. If the intention was dramatic effect, there are better ways to go about it.

All-in-all, and I am disappointed to report, this issue is a bust. The story didnít seem to qualify for its own independent issue. Had more been going on more positive things could have been said about the comic. But as is? Unless you are collecting the series, you can skip this issue all together and pick up again on issue #4. Hopefully itíll be more in line with the quality of issue #2.



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