Release Date: 12/2008-08/2012
I didn’t really have high hopes for this comic series. Comics are a good avenue for video games because you get a new story along with visuals. The first mini-series wasn’t all that great. The art was good, but the story was very average and just felt like a piece of a level from the game. There were a couple of comics after that that focused on Jace which is a character I didn’t really like. These issues felt pointless and I feel sorry for anyone who wasted $4 on them. The second mini-series — Barren — was excellent with fantastic art and an awesome story. It also brought out a darker side to the franchise that wasn’t seen in the games. Using a run down the facility to capture and rape girls to create babies to keep humanity running. Delta Squad goes in and tries to save them, but there is a constant love/hate thing going on and it was very gripping.
After this, the series went into some one-offs with Jace again and I didn’t like them. The third and final mini-series was Dirty Little Secrets which led up to the ending of Gears of War 3. Karen Traviss wrote the comic this time around except the artwork was terrible. It was washed out and the character design was inconsistent with the whole series. There were some character tie-ins to the Gears novels, so anyone who’s read those will finally get to see what these characters look like such as Trescu, Mathieson, and a few other Garasnaya people. The story was pretty gripping and it got into the heads of Adam Fenix, Chairman Prescott, and Hoffman. Of course, by now everyone knows how Gears ends, but this is still a great insight.
Interestingly, WildStorm dropped the series shortly after the Barren mini-series and DC Comics picked it up. I don’t know if it wasn’t profitable anymore — I highly doubt the comic series sold very well. After the switch to DC, the artwork went down the wayside yet the stories were a little better. Seeing as the series only ran for 24 issues (2 years) I’m guessing after Gears of War 3 they didn’t expect it to sell. It went on for quite a while as most video game comics are only one mini-series long. If you are a hardcore Gears of War fan I recommend at least picking up the last two mini-series. The series went through some ups and downs, but it was solid for a franchise that mainly focused on shooting things.