REVIEW: ‘Horizon Zero Dawn,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Horizon Zero Dawn #1

A new story unfolds in the world of Horizon Zero Dawn! Published by Titan Comics, written by Anne Toole, with art by Ann Maulina, colors by Bryan Valenza, and letters by Jim Campbell, Horizon Zero Dawn #1 follows the events of the game by the same name, featuring a world dominated by animalistic machines and centering on human survival in this brave new world.

Horizon Zero Dawn #1 features two characters who are prevalent in the game: Talanah and Aloy. Talanah has left the city of Meridian and is on the hunt to fulfill a contract for killing a machine. A skillful hunter, Talanah expects little challenge but instead takes the contract so she can get out of her own head. However, she stumbles upon a new breed of machine that is deadlier than any made before it. Talanah has only seen this machine once before when she was aiding Aloy.

The two main characters have history, which may be confusing if you are not familiar with the game. However, Aloy and Talanah’s dialogue is very fitting for these pre-established characters. Their personalities shine through easily and their familiarity with each other is apparent through their banter. Given that Anne Toole is one of the writers who worked on the game, this excellent dialogue is only to be expected.

Although Horizon Zero Dawn #1 sets up the characters and the plot well, there is not a lot of world-building or explanation. This is, after all, a comic based on a videogame, so the world has already been created and the relationships between people and machines set. But if you know little about the game be prepared to be confused. The issue is a bit short and the series is expected to only have a handful of issues so it’s understandable why the writers wouldn’t want to reiterate pre-established facts.

Horizon Zero Dawn #1

The artwork is wonderful. Both Aloy and Talanah look like they have stepped right out of the game. The people are expressive, the fighting and hunting scenes fluid, and the machines detailed enough to be identified as mechanical in nature but not enough to be an eyesore. The colors make the environment vibrant and wild and make for some really pretty panels. To top things off, the lettering is basic but keeps the panels uncluttered and allows easy transition between speech bubbles and panels.

Horizon Zero Dawn #1 isn’t short in physical length but it nevertheless feels short. I think this is in part due to the large number of pages dedicated to action or back-and-forth dialogue that isn’t necessarily used to advance the plot. This is in no way a bad thing, but it definitely gives a feeling of brevity that made me wonder if the rest of the issues in the series would be similar. If so, I don’t expect a very intricate plot to come from this series. If that’s the case, then I hope that the focus is, at the very least, centered around character development. Whether it’s plot forward or character forward, I’m looking forward to getting ahold of the next issue.

Overall, Horizon Zero Dawn #1 feels a tad short but it sets up the main characters and the plot well. If you’re not familiar with the game, you’ll likely be very confused about the natural order of Horizon Zero Dawn’s world. The real litmus test for how successful this series is will lie in the content of the next issue.

Horizon Zero Dawn #1 is available now wherever comic books are sold.

Horizon Zero Dawn #1
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TL;DR

Overall, Horizon Zero Dawn #1 feels a tad short but it sets up the main characters and the plot well. If you’re not familiar with the game, you’ll likely be very confused about the natural order of Horizon Zero Dawn’s world.