Monday, November 10, 2008

Warhammer: Condemned by Fire (5-issue trade)

Warhammer: Condemned by Fire (trade)
Written by Dan Abnett and Ian Edginton
Art by Rashan Ekedal, Chad Hardin, and Anthony Williams
Colors by Fellipe Martin, Veronica Gandini, Lisa LuBera and Chris Summers
Published by Boom! Studios

This trade offered by BOOM! Studios has a little bit of everything. It's part Punisher, part Army of Darkness, and sprinkled with bits of Lord of the Rings. The people over at BOOM! Studios really put out the books that scratch my bored-of-spandex itch. This collection of issues has something for the hardcore Warhammer fan, or the hardcore fantasy reader. Though the latter may not get all the references, they will still get the gist. BOOM! has taken good care of their Warhammer franchise, both the 40k as well as the fantasy title, which is where this stories in this trade take place.

Our protagonist is Magnus Gault, a Witch Hunter and Templar of Sigmar who is on a quest to hunt down a heretic, Szymon Magister, across a fantastic and gothic landscape. Gault eventually finds Magister in a light-forsaken town of decay where the citizens have become rotten zombie-like creatures. Gault wastes no time in decimating the rotting townspeople and burns their town to cinder. And just as soon as he rides in, he keeps moving on to find the source of the evil that contaminates the land. His trek takes him to faraway lands and still he finds decay and rotting animals with no clue on why this is happening. Along the way, he is ambushed by creatures known as warhounds. During the skirmish his horse Asche is wounded and Gault puts her out of her misery. After setting the body on fire so she is not used as carrion for the beasts around, he continues on foot well into the night and finds himself in the town of Totenburg. There is he is greeted by what he thinks are humans, however he is quick to find out they are servants of the God of Stagination, Nergle.

Unlike in the previous town, he is succumbed and taken prisoner and placed with the other townsfolk that are used as sacrifices for Nergle. Among the prisoners is Franz Vogel, Greatsword of Averland. I would like to think I have read enough fantasy books to know that is supposed to mean something pretty important. Vogel shares his life story, which is a sad tale indeed. Conversing with Vogel more, Gault figures out that the contamination is coming from the spring water. Gault constructs a small explosive and frees them from their prison, then quickly goes to the armory and retrieves his weapons. Side by side with Vogel, the two kill a plethora of the undead townspeople and like before, Gault burns the city down.

Both Vogel and Gault venture on together to find the source of the taint and they finally find it. I won't reveal the giveaway, but yes, another battle occurs and all ends well. The art is pretty good, though in the fourth issue seems a little off and not as put-together as the previous issues. I wish I could recommend this trade to the casual comic reader, however the dialogue is hard to chew at times. I understand it is taking place in a fantasy realm, but those who aren't fluent in Shakespearean style talk may have a hard time understanding it. I DO want to recommend it for the fantasy readers out there who are used to the likes of Robert Jordan, Terry Brooks, and R. A. Salvatore and probably can get through that sort of speaking. The other complaint I have is actually an issue I have for all of these sorts of books. I think it would be helpful for the non-hardcore fans to have an index or glossary of sorts in the back so they can have somewhat of a clue on what's what and who's who. Also, I hate to nitpick, but there needed to be a finer tuned editing job. There were a few typos here and there, such as "looses" when it should have been "loses".

I'm a huge fan of fantasy books, and BOOM! is coming out with the better titles that I have seen on the market. Here's hoping they continue their streak of great stories and great use of the Warhammer name.

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