Warframe: Ghouls (#1, Convention Edition) – Matt Hawkins, Ryan Cady

3 out of 5

I can’t remember if this was free, or why I might have purchased this, but I come to this issue as an exactly zero-knowledge of Warframe guy. So whatever excitement might be offered by seeing your favorite races / characters / concepts presented, I do not have.

The setup of the issue is incredibly straight forward without any context, however: an alien / foreign race (I’m not clear if different races exist on one planet, or if this is a space-bound series) – The Greneer, who seem like de-bulked Warhammer types – are ransaking a village of humans, in search of some type of relics. They “discover” one such relic in the form of a battle-suited “Tenno,” who then sword slashes its way through said Greneer.

The dialogue is definitely on the heavy-handed side but isn’t overly cheesy or talky – Matt Hawkins and Ryan Cady move us through scenes at an effective pace, using words to set tone and then moving aside for action. The POV switch – between a human survivor and the Greneer leader – is not so effectively handled, as the art doesn’t really give weight to either character when they’re both in the same scene, and the color palette is one big wash of muddy blues, meaning there’s not much of a transition between the two sides. However, it’s nice that there’s an attempt to parallel their internal narratives from opposite mentalities.

“Studio Hive’s” art is very cinematic, very slick, and very cool, I’d say, owing to some nifty character designs, but it works best when sticking to a normal-ish panel grid and people standing around talking. When there’s action, we switch to dynamic angles and swooping cameras that don’t feel justified and get rather cluttered in the aforementioned color malaise, which also makes the action a bit hard to discern in busier panels. It still kinds looks cool, from a high level, but your eyes also gloss over it, not really soaking up the images.

Pretty standard sci-fi fare for the uninitiated, but it seems like something with appreciative effort put in for game fans. No idea what determines this as a “convention edition,” which I should also note I read digitally. There’s some bonus fan art in the back.