By Dustin Cabeal
My name is Dustin, and I’m the reviewer for this comic book. Eisenhorn: Xenos is a game based off the novels by Dan Abnett that’s set inside the universe of another game. That game being Warhammer 40,000. I haven’t the foggiest about which of these the comic book is based on nor does it likely matter. At the end of the day, it’s either a comic based on a novel or a video game and that leaves the comic feeling weak in comparison. The comic opens up much like my opening. The main character Gregor Eisenhorn is holding a big fucking sword with some low current electricity around it and a gun with a skull on it. He tells us what his job is, why he does it and even what’s brought him to the planet he’s currently on. A battle breaks out; he kills most of the dudes he’s hunting, and a woman steps out of the shadows to help him. He “tests” her by demanding her services and seeing what she says. I guess you don' turn down an Inquisitor for the God-Emperor of Mankind.
People get injured, Gregor fights an orc, and the person he’s been sent to kill gets away. A friend dies after finding a demon trapped in some crap that I have never heard of because I don’t play these games. The book is over-written. There are too many narration captions, just too many. There was a spot in which two pages in a row told me. It didn’t develop the story; it just gave factoids about the world that served no purpose to the rest of the issue.
Even worse, the writing never once allows you to forget the main character’s name, his title, who’s helping him, what planet they’re on, and who they’re after. For you to have an idea of what that was like to read, it’s only twenty pages long, and practically every other page gives you all the information I listed above. That’s half the book. When you get to the last page, it ends the same way it started which can be a great narration device. The problem here is that you never forgot any of the information so it’s not nearly as clever as the writer would like it to be. Instead, it comes across as overkill.
The art never gets to lead the dance. It’s always happening after the fact of the narration. The book doesn’t show, but rather tells and then assumes you’ll need a visual reference afterwards. Almost as if saying, “see, this is what I meant.” Aside from that, the art struggles throughout the book. The main character’s face never looks the same way twice; angles are often awkward or out of place. At one point Gregor looks at his reflection in the middle of a battle, and the window/glass is tilted to make the angle work, but only he is reflected in the mirror… and why is he doing this in the middle of a battle? The gore is the best part, but it felt out of place with the tone of the story. I liked it, but given how serious the narration and characterization was, it ends up looking slapstick.
The biggest question I struggle with is who this comic is for? Is it for fans of the books? Because wouldn’t you want Dan Abnett, an experienced comic writer, to adapt them instead? And if they’re for fans of the game, aren’t you instead more interested in playing the game since you get to play this character? This is the big question because as a comic reader I wasn’t exactly interested in this title. I gave it a chance because sometimes video game adaptations in comics are a fun read. This wasn’t and so as a comic reader, it doesn’t appeal to me to read more. I don’t know the characters; I don’t understand the world and I don’t care about their mission. That said, I don’t care to come back for more either. But hey, I’m just the reviewer for this comic book, and my name is Dustin. But then, you probably didn’t forget that, did you?
Eisenhorn: Xenos #0
Writer: Ryan O’Sullivan
Artist: Anthony Spay