I was already a fan of Dan Abnett before I started reading this series, but come on, who wasn’t? Some of his work is the reason that I’m a serious collector and reader. But this isn’t just a review that is going to revolve around me sucking up to him. I don’t usually pick up books that are based on video games, movies, or television shows, but I do tend to give anything a chance as long as it has the right names attached to it. And after reading Hypernaturals I’ll probably follow this guy into the pits of Hell. It can’t be too uncomfortable down there. The plot of Hawken: Melee #1 is pretty original. You follow roughly thirty seconds of a Mech Pilot’s attempt to survive while being wounded and completely outnumbered. Most of the issue takes place while the pilot is waiting for backup. I’m not going to give anything away, but the ending of the issue is pretty satisfying, once you figure out what happened. I suggest reading the “Candidate Summary” at the end of the issue.
Dan Abnett does a really good job of building that tension (that I’m sure exists) in a combat zone while hoping you survive long enough to be rescued. I didn’t feel my palms get sweaty or anything, but I definitely wouldn’t have wanted to read this with other people in the room. You actually need to pay attention. Don’t have any distractions. A lot happens in that time.
The art in this issue is really good. I love how Federico Dallocchio draws the interior of the mech. It kinda feels like you’re inside with the pilot. That closeness also compliments the script because of how stressed out the pilot actually is. The feeling of claustrophobia really adds to that. The entire issue takes place in a pretty small place, so there is a lot of collateral damage, which is always fun to look at. He really has a talent for drawing mech battle sequences.
Ever wonder what goes on inside the head of a soldier? I would say that this is pretty close. Of course people who are expecting to die are always shown worrying about loved ones or they’re seen watching their lives flash before their lives. This isn’t about that. This soldier is just trying to survive long enough to get back to base. I like how you aren’t forced to connect on an emotional level with this guy. I love emotion in dramatic stories as much as the next guy, or even more so, but don’t shove it in my face if it isn’t necessary. This was done right.
Unfortunately, Hawken: Melee is actually a five part series where each issue is a standalone story, and Dan only writes the first issue. That’s enough to get me interested in the rest of the series however. If the other writers handle it like he does, there shouldn’t be a problem. I think that the audience for this book will really get into it. It isn’t over-complicated, it’s fun to look at, and it’s a blast being inside the head of this pilot while he is delivering this inner monologue.
Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Federico Dallocchio Publisher: Archaia Entertainment Price: $2.99 Release Date: 12/4/13