Review – Horizon: Zero Dawn (Volume 2) Liberation
Publisher: Titan Comics
Writers: Anne Toole & Ben McCaw
Artist: Elmer Damaso
Colours: Stelladia & Bryan Valenza
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Release Date: March 1st 2022
I got to read the second volume of the Horizon: Zero Dawn comic for review ahead of its release this week. With Horizon: Forbidden West, (the sequel to the first Horizon game,) having just dropped, it seemed like an appropriate time to dive back into the world of the Horizon comic series.
Volume 2: Liberation, collects issues #5-8 of the HZD comics and follows Aloy and Erend chasing after an elusive figure from Erend’s past called Korl who wronged him. The story switches between Aloy and Erend’s quest in the present day and flashbacks to show why Erend is out for revenge against Korl.
Disappointingly, I found Anne Toole and Ben McCaw’s writing to be lacking somewhat in this volume. Too much of the text felt like typical expositional dialogue ripped straight from a videogame cutscene. The transitions to the flashback sequences never felt natural, instead feeling forced.
Putting aside the issues I had with the writing in the volume on a technical level, I also didn’t care much for the subject matter. The entire volume reads like one big boring sidequest. If this sequence of events was included in a Horizon game, I would likely find myself skipping through the cutscenes to get to the action before too long.
Then there is also the fact that this whole volume revolves around the whiny, wet-sleeve of a character that is Erend. I have never enjoyed this character; either in the games or in this comic. The whole, ‘brute with a heart of gold,’ thing has been played out to the point where it just feels trite and uninspired. Beyond just his character archetype, his traits of constantly whinging and guilt-tripping Aloy to get his own way also make him unlikable.
The major saving grace of this volume is the artwork. Elmer Damaso’s illustration in tandem with Stelladia and Bryan Valenza’s colouring work combine to effectively convey the look of the videogame source material. The pages in this volume mange to look almost identical to some of the game’s most spectacular cutscenes.
In summary, it is a shame that the somewhat bland, unimaginative writing lets down the fantastic art that is on display in this book. You may enjoy this glorified sidequest of a story if you are a diehard fan of the Horizon video game series, but if not, then you would probably be better off giving this one a miss.
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If you enjoyed Dan’s review of Horizon: Zero Dawn (Volume 2) Liberation, you can check out his review of The Killer: Affairs Of The State #1 here.
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