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Comic Review: Hawken: Melee #1
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Hawken: Melee #1 cover by Tim BradstreetHawken: Melee #1
Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Federico Dallocchio
Colored by Chris Northrop
Lettered by Julia Fung
Cover by Tim Bradstreet
Boom! Studios
Release Date: December 4, 2013
Cover Price: $3.99

Back in April, I reviewed Hawken: Genesis, Archaia’s prequel tie-in to the hit, free online multi-player game, Hawken. Having never played an online multi-player game, I enjoyed the graphic novel so much that I even considered pursuing the world it’s set in some more within its main form of media. Well, Boom has just released issue one of the their sequel series, Hawken: Melee, and I obviously jumped at the chance to check out the newest venture into the gritty, war-torn world of Hawken. Does it live up to its predecessor? Find out below.

In Hawken: Melee #1, I was submerged into battle with a Mech (giant robot controlled by a human) pilot who was caught in the middle of a fast-paced attack from multiple opponents. “20 Seconds,” the first title in the five stand-alone issues series, literally takes place within the span of twenty seconds, though it feels much longer.

Written by Dan Abnett, who I usually admire, this story was not too enjoyable. There was only one panel that offered up any validation for why I should root for the pilot: a picture of his family was taped to the window of the Mech, qualifying his “family man” status. Otherwise, I had no idea who he was or why I should even care. He simply explained his movements and the ensuing action via sporadic narration throughout the entirety of the issue.

Federico Dallocchio offered his illustrative skills for this issue with colors from Chris Northrop. Dark shades of brown, yellow, green, and gray mixed with back and forth shots of the pilot and his Mech allowed for excellent, visualistic battle scenes. Dallocchio and Northrop were able to keep me invested in the comic and helped me to feel the emotion that the writing, unfortunately, did not.

The first issue of Hawken: Melee was a huge let down. I was expecting a similar character-driven story to Hawken: Genesis, and what I received was bland, one-note storytelling. Unless the Mechs come knocking down my door, this is one melee I won’t be involving myself with.

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