Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Mac Walters & Alexander Freed
Artists: Eduardo Francisco & Michael Atiyeh
Anthem is an upcoming video game by Bioware that is set to be the next big online multiplayer experience. In Anthem, Freelancers (The players) explore wildlands in high-tech exosuits in an effort to protect Fort Tarsis, their home. The game emphasizes cooperative play with various shooter RPG mechanics.
Anthem #1 serves as a prequel to the video game, providing quite a bit of backstory for those who are interested in playing the game. The story focuses on a Freelancer who rescues a boy being ambushed in the wilds. The boy gets adopted by a family in the fort and grows close with Jani, his adoptive sister. The remainder of the issue watches the two grow as they find their way in the dangerous world they live in.
Writers Mac Walter and Alexander Freed do a fine job at establishing the setting of Anthem. The hazards and
While the world of Anthem is interesting, the characters and dialogue aren’t off to the strongest start. Most of the narration feels generic, leading to a few scenes that readers will feel like they have already seen in a science fiction story. Bland narration combined with somewhat generic action sequences leads to a few lulls in the issue, especially in the beginning. The issue’s hook isn’t too interesting due to the narrator, but as the issue progresses the narrator plays a smaller role and allows the story to tell itself through dialogue.
Alexander Freed’s script feels stiff at times, with dialogue that is repetitive and unnatural throughout the issue. The characters feel somewhat human through their interactions, but this sense of humanity is often marred by bland lines. The children’s bond feels a little hurried as the writing team rushes to set up the second issue, and it makes the issue a bit underwhelming. If the rest of this miniseries’ success relies on the reader’s connection to the siblings, this story is likely to fail. Hopefully, there is a greater emphasis on the setting in future issues.
Eduardo Francisco’s pencils are standard-fare for video game comic books. There isn’t an incredible amount of detail in this debut, with the exception of the technology. The
Anthem #1 is a fine introduction to the universe, but it doesn’t provide much more. The characters are mostly uninteresting, and the storytelling is a bit fragmented. Those who aren’ interested in the video game at all will find very little to bite into. Fans of the franchise might enjoy the little bits of lore here and there but won’t miss out on much if they decide to pass on this one.