February 10, 2011 by dracs
Once again I found myself digging through the dusty library at Beasts of War towers and amongst the out of date army books, dog-eared copies of White Dwarf and bits of discarded lunch, I came across Warhammer: Forge of War by Boom Studios, a graphic novel, co-written by Black Library author Dan Abnett and comic book writer Ian Edginton (who has worked for 2000 AD, among others), with vibrant art work by Rahsan Ekedal.
The story centres on a group of Empire Great Swords, who have committed the unthinkable… they fled the field of battle!
Now, they must make their way through the danger filled forests of Averland, while escaping their Chaos-bound pursuers and risking the perils of all manner of mythical beasts. They are joined by the other scattered forces of the army and together with their unusual allies seek to drive the forces Chaos from their lands and redeem themselves.
The plot is fast paced and gripping. The writers carry you from one action-packed moment to the next, with the occasional moment of peace, serving only to heighten your sense of anticipation. Hints are scattered throughout, compelling you to read on, as the tension mounts… why did the army fail? What sinister forces did the armies of Chaos bring to bare? Could the army itself possibly have been tainted by treachery? With each new revelation you are drawn further and further into the story.
The one main complaint I would have with it is its length, or rather its lack of it. The books brevity and pace mean there is little time for any real character development and each of the story’s participants seems to be some form of fantasy trope… the ornery Dwarf… the arrogant Wizard… or the grizzled veteran, who holds the complete loyalty of his men.
The artwork is a bit of a dichotomy, the vivid colours, contrasting with the grim nature of the story and while I was at first, a little sceptical of this approach, the gory battle scenes soon won me over. However, rather than making them seem cartoonish, I feel that the colours highlight the blood and violence.
The other point I would make is that the colour schemes of the characters are all rather similar. The Empire , the Dwarves and the Warriors of Chaos are all depicted in shades of blue and yellow, which can make some of the scenes slightly confusing, especially during the opening battle where you are still coming to grips with the various characters.
Although the graphic novel does have a few flaws, these didn’t detract too much from my overall enjoyment of the story and I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is a fan of fantasy literature, comic books, or even anyone who might be looking for inspiration for their Warhammer Fantasy Battle forces.
+ Action packed story
+ Vibrant art style
- Too short to allow real character development
- Similar colours of the armies can initially lead to confusion