HORIZON ZERO DAWN: LIBERATION By Anne Toole, Elmer Damaso, Bryan Valenza, Jim Campbell
Titan Comics, s/b, £14.99
Reviewed by Matthew Johns
This is another of the excellent Horizon Zero Dawn graphic novels based on the characters from the popular video game of the same name. Set in a post-apocalyptic future on Earth where humankind has been mostly wiped out and reduced to feudal tribes spread across the world, surviving against fearsome machines.
This particular instalment features the main protagonist from the video games of the same name, Aloy, assisting her friend Erend as he hunts for a man who helped his sister’s murderer.
As they traverse through the dangerous environments of the planet, Erend tells Aloy the story of his sister, Ersa. Ersa was a brave and skilled warrior, a leader of men, responsible for the death of the mad Sun King and for liberating countless others.
Lavishly illustrated with a muted palette consisting mostly of earthy, woody colours (varying shades of browns, greens and oranges in the main), suiting the verdant environment that the characters survive in, it is a joy to the eyes. Pages vary in panel size and shape, with a number of cross-page panels to show the big, expansive scenes (the sweeping landscapes or city shots that you might expect to see on screen taken by helicopter or drone). The characters are all excellently realised, with realistic expressions occasionally bordering on wide-eyed manga-style faces.
The covers are lovingly and beautifully drawn, with striking faces often centred with greenery and/or a selection of deadly-looking machines around them or thrilling action scenes. The story sits within the events of the game and uncovers more of the mohawked and fantastically moustachioed Erend’s background, showing his friendship with Aloy and how they work together.
This is a great item for a collector or even for the casual reader who (like me) may never have played the game. Easy to read, easy on the eye, it’s a gem.