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Warhammer 40,000: Fire & Honour #4

Posted: Monday, December 22, 2008
By: Alex Rodriguez

Graham McNeill
Tony Parker, Lisa Lubera (i), Veronica Gandini (i)
BOOM! Studios
I have one question and one question only -- did anyone bother to read this comic before they sent it to the printers? The writing in this issue is both awkward and corny and frankly, that’s being polite about it. Honestly, I gave the second issue of this run a good review and it has never once been able to make that grade again.

Here’s the plot. The Cadian 71st Blazer Company was ambushed at the end of the last issue and now they’re “fighting for their lives” while trying to get to Colonel Anders to inform him that Governor Montague is a traitor. Now normally I don’t like to spoil a comic, but there isn’t really much to be spoiled in this comic, so…

When Lt. Rae finally arrives, Montague is there to greet him and demand his immediate death for the crime of desertion of his company. Now, with what could turn into great suspense, what does our writer do? He completely ignores it. Lt. Rae argues back. Well, honestly, it looked more like when a child is blamed for something he didn’t do and he cries and points at the real culprit. And miraculously they believe him. Well isn’t that convenient? And cheap. Readers have not lost their attention span for good writing. If a story is well thought out and developed you can keep the reader moving, they will wait to see what happens next. And if written well, they will beg for what comes next. A quick and overly simplified ending is only disappointing.

The editor of a comic holds one of, if not the greatest, responsibility of the entire production team. It is their job to make sure that the comic is well-paced, well laid out, properly written, and entertaining. It’s also their responsibility to correct dialogue that is unintentionally ambiguous and nonsensical, such as the following:

Rae: You’ve done a grand job, sir, getting us out of this scrape. It’s been a tough one and no mistake.

No mistake about what? No mistake that he has done a good job? No mistake that it’s been tough. Should it read “make no mistake” and be a variation of the old saying? Lines like these are found throughout the comic. What these lines ultimately do is destroy the authenticity of a character; they break the flow of a comic and cause a reader to stop and scratch their head, and not in a way that is intended by the writer

In one section, our commander is trying to get his troops riled up, to accept that they will probably die in the battle which is about to ensue. It’s a form of, “It’s a Spartan’s greatest honor to die in battle, there is no nobler a death.” Unfortunately the way it’s written does not at all fit the tone that the heat of battle would elicit.

As for the art, it’s the same thing we’ve seen from the beginning. Some panels are even indiscernible unless you take the time to look for details. If a reader has to stop while looking at a panel to try and figure out what they are looking at, the panel is poorly designed and needs to be changed. No panel should ever stop a reader, unless that is the sole underlying purpose of that panel. But when the panel is depicting a soldier on fire, the reader should not have to stop and look for details in the armor to find out where his head is or which way he is falling.

The panels are once again rich with color, but it seems that thick colors are supposed to make up for lack of detail. There is one page of the issue where there is no dialogue; it is a full page shot where the Chance Bridge (the bridge Blazer Company needs to cross to meet up with Colonel Anders) is first seen by the troops. Unfortunately, the tanks play such a small part of the panel that it was almost like reading a Where’s Waldo book. The tanks are barely even on the page making the shot almost completely fruitless. If the full page panel was to effectively hit the note it strived for, then the tanks would have to be prominent in the page as well as the bridge. This way the reader can see that our heroes have arrived and a grand unveiling of the landscape would hit home. Ultimately, the art just fails to deliver and other than providing for rich colors, fails to inspire any more interest in the story.

All-in-all, I would not recommend this comic book. It is a definite “no thank you” from this month’s releases.



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