Comic Book Review: Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1 HC
Overwatch may not be a game where it has a story mode, though that hasn’t stopped Blizzard from creating some seriously in-depth lore for this growing world. This has come in the form of multiple cinematic movies, the trailers, and ongoing right now the digital comics published from Dark Horse. Some fans really don’t take the time to realize the effort on Blizzard’s part to be able to do all of this without us having to break the bank to enjoy it all. This anthology HC is the first thing you are actually buying and it is worth it to have so many stories right in the palm of your hands.
Reading through all of these stories created a better appreciation for the work that went into all of these characters. The story is straight forward between what happened before Overwatch, during Overwatch, and after the time of Overwatch. Though what really grabs you is the characters themselves who have been given life through their lives throughout this world’s history. It was even important understanding that not everyone in this game is even Overwatch. Some of them barely have a connection to those events at all. They just merely exist in the same world, and those little details are cool to know. Especially when it comes to the duo of Junkrat and Roadhog. They are funny because they just do what they are best at which is making money and causing a heck of a lot of trouble along the way. Junkenstein was right up their alley as well when it came to putting another mask over their shenanigans. I think I speak for everyone that no costumes are more desired than what came out of that comic and what fans are still hoping comes from some particular characters in Halloween costumes.
While the Junkrat and Roadhog was funny, some of the others like Pharah’s was more serious. Then you have Reinhardt’s story which was full of hope and optimism. Everything you would want to see from someone who is trying to continue to do good work even when Overwatch has fallen. Protecting those who cannot defend themselves comes with a strong message. Especially when dealing with a Knight of his stature. Others like Symetra’s will leave you wondering about what side she is truly on. The price of a perfect world when what you have to do to get there isn’t so picture perfect. They all come from different worlds and these first six issues really capture what that offers.
With each of these stories there is a different creative team as well, some of them doing more than one for some of these characters. Each team has a great understanding of these characters that they are passing onto us. It felt like what we were getting a lot from the game through what at most is about ten pages. These may be small stories, but they tell a lot about the kind of cast we are dealing with. For the sixth story we focused on Torbjörn Lindholm. I have taken a liken already to calling him the Tony Stark of the Overwatch world, minus the money though. Makes all the cool stuff, is very good at it, yet wants only the best use out of what he creates. Not destruction. That made for a very engaging story to dive into because his job really can’t be done till everything he created can be accounted for and put down if used for the wrong reasons. This alone made Binary such a contrasting story. Who would have thought Torbjörn and Bastion to cross paths? What happens is a big turning point for someone like Torb who sees red very fast when it comes to Omnics.
Ana got some special treatment for this anthology when like Junkrat and Roadhog, she got two stories. It made sense for the fact that for Ana it is more important to understand her past as it is to understand what she is doing currently. If you questioned her importance, you got the picture now when placed up there alongside Reaper and Soldier 76 when they were all still Overwatch. I think if you ever underestimated her ability as well, these two stories shut down that skepticism.
Reflections was the most heartwarming story we could get out of Overwatch so far, next to the Bastion and Mei animation that is. While you enjoy seeing these heroes/villains in action, nothing is more engaging than when you are seeing what they do on their own time. Even if it was a few panels or just one, a picture was enough to tell you something new or shocking about a hero that you thought you knew. I will still say it was not as big of a deal as some made it out to be learning that Tracer had a girlfriend. Some of us were more thrown for a loop that there are ways for her to travel without needing to wear the device on her chest 24/7.
The last story for this anthology is Uprising. Not too much to say here assuming that everyone has already played through that event by now. The artwork for this one was excellent. Uprising took on a more painted touch which worked very well when capturing this event where we are somewhere foreign and in the midst of battle. That aside I think this was a great time for fans who needed a proper introduction to the Blackwatch team for Overwatch. An excellent rendering of what Genji looked like before they worked up to a complete body/armor for him.
All of the artists do a spectacular job as both artist and colorists. I will always say the best can do both. And what I will also always say is that the books you should never overlook are those which open the doors to a world from another medium and they put the effort into making the book look good inside and out. The covers grabs your eyes just as much as the interiors. When they don’t care is when the artwork will look average. There is nothing wrong with average, though you really want people to invest in this lore. Just a good story is not enough. Every story here had a quality art team to it and their style matched the tone of the story being told. Some stories are bright and colorful, others showing the darker side to certain events, and other taking advantage of the right selection to dive into past recollections. As I’ve probably pointed out a few times above, the best work any of them could produce through these twelve stories are creative designs for skins we have both gotten from them and hope to still get from some of them. Its one thing as well to simply see those skins in action, and another thing to see them here on paper with a little more personality thrown in. Beyond that, there’s nothing more or less you could have asked for from these art teams.
The Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1 HC is something that everyone should be reading if they are playing this game. You’ll learn something new if you haven’t looked up all this information on your own. The digital issues are still free, and this HC is good for the collector’s value, so there is nothing holding you back to fully immerse yourself into this expanding universe.
Writers/Artists: Matt Burns, Robert Brooks, Micky Neilson, Andrew Robinson, Michael Chu, James Waugh, Nesskain, Bengal, Gray Shuko, Jeffrey ”Chamba” Cruz, Miki Montllo, Joe Ng, Espen Grundetjern