WARHAMMER 40K: MARNEUS CALGAR #1, available Wednesday from Marvel Comics, dives headfirst in the lore of Warhammer 40K, featuring a famous hero in the process. It is time to hear of Marneus Calgar, his past, and his present.
Warhammer 40K, from Games Workshop, has teamed up with Marvel Comics in order to bring the lore of the games (and countless novels, for that matter) back into the world of comics. It’s a match made to be for more than one reason.
This new series takes a focus on Marneus Calgar, Chapter Master of the Ultramarines. It really isn’t surprising that Space Marines have taken the forefront here, but it will prove to be a story ideal for longstanding fans while welcoming in those newer to the universe and its lore.
What is particularly eye-catching about this new series is the creative team that has been pulled into the project. Kieron Gillen (writer), Jacen Burrows (artist), Java Tartaglia (colorist), and VC’s Clayton Cowles (letterer) have all been brought together for this unique experience.
Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #1 is not one of those issues that starts off slow. It dives right into the action, with Marneus Calgar well into his time as Chapter Master. Even so, there is still so much to learn about this Space Marine.
Kieron Gillen is probably better known for The Wicked + The Divine, but after reading this issue, one can see how his writing is perfectly applied to the world of 40K. There’s an epic scale to the series, yet even in this introduction, it doesn’t feel to be the focus.
The focus is on the man himself. His past, his present, and his future. It’s an origin story, but it’s unfolding as it relates to current events. It’s carefully done, written in a way that should prove entertaining for the hero’s fans while also being accommodating to newer fans and readers.
The transitions between the past and the present should feel jarring. After all, Marneus Calgar couldn’t appear more different, and yet it isn’t. It all flowed smoothly, all while setting the scene – explaining the weight that the Marines carry while hinting at a larger battle to come.
All things considered, this is a fascinating introduction. There are many elements to Calgar’s story that make it worth the read, not least of which being his untold (until now) origin story.
Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #1 looks at feels exactly as expected. That is a high compliment, given all of the expectations that come along with this universe. All that credit goes to the artistic team, for obvious reasons.
The Ultramarines look larger than life, as well they should. Calgar steals the show, both as an adult and in his younger (and significantly smaller) form. The battle at hand actually feels like one of many, allowing for subtext to run across the pages, all while implying that there is more to come.
Meanwhile, the colors are rich and vibrant. The bright blues and reds take dominance, complemented by the gold accents. None of that should be a surprise, but it still works nicely here. The red of blood allows for further pops of colors, alongside brilliantly shaded backdrops. All of which enhances the epic nature.
The lettering proved to be vital in this issue. Not only did it provide a sense of impact at times, but it indicated many other subtle elements. From the passage of time to dark implications surrounding characters.
Warhammer 40K: Marneus Calgar #1 is a worthwhile read, though truthfully, the story has only just begun. It wasn’t afraid to end both sides of the tale with cliffhangers, leaving readers anxious to see how the threads will be picked up in the second issue.
On the off chance that it wasn’t obvious, this is a story that will likely get graphic in due time. Not only does it portray war, but it will likely show the darker side of what Ultramarines (and all Space Marines) go through in order to become the heroes and warriors they are known as.