Pullbox Reviews: Horizon Zero Dawn #1

HORIZON ZERO DAWN #1
Writer: Anne Toole
Artist: Ann Maulina
FC, 32pp, $3.99, On Sale: August 5, 2020

Cover Artists: Stanely ‘Artgerm’ Lau (Cover A), Game Art Wraparound
(Cover B), Loish (Cover C), Ann Maulina (Cover D), Peach Momoko (Cover E), Blue Line Sketch Variant (Cover F).

HORIZON ZERO DAWN #1
Writer: Anne Toole
Artist: Ann Maulina
FC, 32pp, $3.99, On Sale: August 5, 2020

Cover Artists: Stanely ‘Artgerm’ Lau (Cover A), Game Art Wraparound
(Cover B), Loish (Cover C), Ann Maulina (Cover D), Peach Momoko (Cover E), Blue Line Sketch Variant (Cover F).

A brand-new comic sequel story to the award-winning game by Guerrilla.
Aloy and Talanah return! Nature has reclaimed the planet. Awe-inspiring machines dominate the land, as humanity fights for survival on this new Earth. Co-created by one of the writers of the Horizon Zero Dawn game – Anne Toole. Horizon Zero Dawn FCBD #0 ties into this brand-new #1

I’ll admit that I was very late to the Horizon Zero Dawn party. I say the media coverage and watched the trailers. The gem is masterful in it’s visuals, but I still didn’t pick it up on it’s release date…or even the next year. Nope, I waited until Black Friday 2019 to get mine, and I waited too long. The game is a masterpiece on the PS4 and as much as the game play and visuals are amazing, I got sucked into the world building of the game. The backstory and adventure that is crafted is compelling and as breathtaking as the visuals. In short, I loved it! But this is not a review of the game. Before the game’s sequel comes out next year, we are getting more story of the main character Aloy and the NPC Talanah.

In this first issue we see much more of Talanah and her new role as the Sunhawk, leader of a hunter’s guild, and follow her on a hunt that doesn’t go so well. We are treated to an even balance of action and dialog. Writer, Anne Toole, does a nice job bridging the gap between readers who are fans of the game and someone who may have never picked up a controller before. We see the Talanah may be the best hunter in the guild, but she is still human. These character are not heroes of steel skin and who can change the course of mighty rivers. These people break as easily as any other person. It’s a sharp dichotomy when they are hunting animalistic machines with saw blades for teeth.

We do come across Aloy, the main character of the video game, in the last few pages the issue. Her appearance is awesome, as expected, as she is the closest thing to a super-hero the story has. She has no “powers” but is assisted by some technology from a past civilization (ours) that helps her. We see that Aloy and Talanah have a kinship, a sister-like bond, that strengthens their friendship. We don’t get too far into that when they hear a cry for help and are off to the rescue….in the next issue.

Ann Maulina (artist) and Bryan Valenza (colorist) cover the look for the world. It’s good work, but it’s also where I had to adjust my expectations. The video game is bright a lush in its use of color, light, and dark. Players can feel that environmental difference between nature and machine during every moment of the game. I didn’t really get that here, but I’m wondering if that was purposeful. On the page, it felt more like the animation style of Avatar: The Last Airbender (which I love), than the art from the game. We only see the nature environment and it’s much more muted…softer, than in the game. It wasn’t what I expected but on my second read though it grew on me. It has more of a natural look instead of the hyper-HD lens flare the game has…so y’know…natural.

Whenever I read a new comic I ask myself what every comic reader does. “Do I want to read the next issue?” Horizon Zero Dawn has me at a solid, yes.

Score 10/13

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