While Hollow was a huge disappointment and felt completely unnecessary the writers and artists at WildStorm seem to have gotten the hang of the series. Barren is full of twists and exciting new characters, and surprisingly, a bunch of female ones. Delta Squad gets a new female Sargeant in their squad, Alex, and they are sent to a destroyed city called Jilane to find any survivors. The distress beacon was somehow activated there, but it’s actually a plant where they capture and rape women to reproduce. This is a very dark series and even dark for Gears of War. Things like rape and torture usually aren’t talked about in the games outside of the Locust.
For some reason, they are still sticking with Jace as the main character. Nobody likes him, he’s boring and uninteresting yet he’s still here. There’s even a sex scene in the series with Jace and one of the female survivors. It’s very shocking but a good move for the series of comics. Throughout the 5 part series, Liam Sharp’s art brings the story to life and it feels like they have the series under their belt. There’s a lot of action and suspense, and each comic ends on a cliffhanger, but thankfully I didn’t have to wait until the next month to read what happens next. Cliffhangers are important in comics because it keeps the reader coming back every month.
Barren just really shows the darkest part of humanity and how the emergence of Locust affected everyone. It also shows the softer more humane side of the COG and Delta Squad. They save children and women, but it also shows that the best among us will sacrifice themselves to save the masses. This comic series is just rock solid and I hope this continues further into the 24-part Gears of War comic run. If you don’t want to read them all just get #9-14 and enjoy beautiful artwork, solid writing, and tense action.