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Review: Warframe #1

Not just another war story. This is a fight for survival with some soul in it.

Written By: Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady
Art By: Studio Hive
Cover Art: Kevin Glint
Page Count: 32 Pages

Image Comics

Warframe is a creatively spectacular work of fiction, due to its incredibly friendly nature. Have you ever met a total stranger who you somehow find yourself sharing your story with? Someone who, despite you knowing absolutely nothing about them, just has a way of pulling you into their space, into their atmosphere?

That’s what Warframe is.
The stranger friend you meet on the subway.

From the outset, we are immediately made aware of that the fact that there is a terrible war taking place. That, in the words of JJ Abrams in regards to Star Wars, “Whatever has been happening here has been happening for a very long time.” A village is on fire. The enemy is on hand. And the only person left to relay this moment-by-moment tale to us is a combat ravaged warrior girl; she is the last of her people in this village. She knows only that these savage assailants are the intergalactically feared “Grineer,” but she has no idea why they have chosen her specific home to give full vent to their destructive fury. She can’t see why her home had to be the target of their attack. As a matter of fact, she can’t see at all.

She’s blind.
Her eyesight another casualty of the battle.

It is at this point early on in the story that our interest is piqued for purely logical reasons. If this unstoppable enemy has eliminated all but one girl, who’s blind, and we’re only a few pages in- how in the heck are the other 20+ pages going to be filled?

And that’s when the magic of this wonderful stranger kicks in.

Slowly, intoxicatingly, we are dealt out more cards from this peculiar deck. There are another class of people also on this planet, at this village, scavenging so they can “sell history to the highest bidder.” What does that mean? The Grineer, these fearsome warriors backed by their ghoul army, are in service to ruthlessly regal beings known simply as “The Queens.” They do the bidding of The Queens and, apparently, there is something on this planet that they want. Something ancient and powerful left by a race even more ancient and powerful than they are.

The mystery deepens, the intrigue builds, and right when you’re concerned about brain overload, a silver flashing sword comes slicing onto the page and into the Grineer. He is Tenno. He is unafraid. He is not from this planet.

He is deadly.

Studio Hive does an astonishingly riveting job rendering the nuance of varied intensity seared into every page. Of particularly breathtaking visual interest is the epic caliber of the battle between Tenno and the army of the Grineer. It’s one of those moments where you just linger and take it all in. Studio Hive’s sharp eye is also in the simpler details- the blinded warrior girl’s panels have lots of dark colors behind them, to give the feel of her blindness. Literally every moment with her feels like the lights have gone out, even as we read her captions.

Hawkins and Cady’s story is fantastically well paced and delivered with the confidence and authority of someone who knows what they’re doing. There is no trying here, or hemming and hawing about the execution. They know what they are doing and they do it. With so many comic books being cranked out across myriad forums these days, the significance of having a strong first issue cannot be overstated.

Warframe #1 delivers the goods.

4 Jawas out of 5.

BONUS CONTENT: Oh and for the especially geeky and curious… Warframe is also a free mobile game, playable on smart phones and most consoles. Go have fun kids. 😉

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