God of War #1
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Chris Roberson
Artist: Tony Parker
Cover Artist: E.M. Gist
Colorist: Dan Jackson
Letterer: John Roshell
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Dark Horse’s God of War takes us to the frozen lands where Kratos has made his home after wreaking havoc in ancient Greece. Set before the events of PS4’s God of War, we meet Kratos as he is trying to train himself to not be overcome by his rage. He stumbles across an old man being mauled by a ghoulish bear, which kicks off a chain of events that eventually comes back to put Kratos and Atreus in danger.
I’ll get this out of the way first: I love the God of War games. That’s why I jumped at the chance to review this comic. One of the strengths of the games, I’d argue, is how the stories are built around Greek and (now) Norse mythology. As loose as they are, you definitely get the sense that you are—as a player—taking part in a god-sized fight that carries a lot of weight while tying it down to human history told in the best way: through mythos and folk tales. Not only that, but Kratos as a character gets more and more intriguing with each release, as stoic as he is.
The comic does not do a great job of capturing that magic. Basically, Kratos is just trying not to rage and thinking about trying not to rage. When you’re thinking about not doing something, that just makes it harder to keep from doing it. Then you eventually do it, and, spoiler alert: Kratos rages. Then he feels kind of bad about it. Then he gets back home and is confronted by basically Norse-speaking animorphs.
I know this is the first issue. I also know that it’s basically impossible to create a comic after the events of a video game that does not currently have a sequel for the sake of not ruining any continuity or canon once the sequel does arrive. But I feel like a lot more could have been done to develop Kratos as a character and to give us more of a taste of Norse mythology than the mysterious man-bear-pig. Maybe we could have gotten a comic related to some of those stories that Mímir the talking head told that I half-listened to while I was canoeing around.
Because it wasn’t all that interesting to me, a player of all the games, I don’t see any possible way that this could be a launching point to anyone that is unfamiliar with the franchise. The mysterious woman to whom Kratos is married and gave birth to Atreus is mentioned in the comic—and apparently, she’s alive. Is anyone not familiar with the games going to know the significance of that? I seriously doubt it.
Before I get too negative on the book, I’ll say this: the artwork was fantastic. Kratos looked exactly like Kratos, but the artwork didn’t go too high-tech and relied on the good ol’ pencils-and-inks feel. The colors made almost every page pop, and you could clearly tell what was going on in every panel.
Verdict: Wait and see…
If you’re a hardcore fan of the games. Otherwise, there’s no point. I plan on checking out the second issue to see if the story adds any more depth, but otherwise, you’re better off replaying the games. Or playing for the first time. Because the games are amazing.