Horizon Zero Dawn Liberation Review: The Beauty of the Epic Horizon Universe Makes its Way to Comics
Titan Comics is set to release an original graphic novel set in the machine world of Horizon Zero Dawn. The upcoming story titled Horizon Zero Dawn Liberation expands on the fantasy world of Horizon Zero Dawn and Horizon Forbidden West and our heroine Aloy
Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation Follows:
“Horizon: a far-future Earth full of epic natural beauty and forgotten ruins, where awe-inspiring, animal-like machines are the dominant species and humans struggle to survive in pre-industrial tribes. Set during the events of Horizon Zero Dawn, Erend and Aloy are on the hunt for the killer of an important member of the Oseram tribe, fending off deadly machines along the way. As the hunt progresses, Erend reveals the sweeping tale of the liberation of Meridian, and how his sister, Ersa, Captain of the Carja Vanguard, was murdered.”
The most impressive thing about the graphic novel is the ability to capture the unique and beautiful landscapes that have made these video games such a refreshing and non-replicable experience. Writer Anne Toole, artist Elmer Damaso, colorist Bryan Valenza, and letterer Jim Campbell really summoned a hive mind amongst each other to be able to bring the magic of this series to a different medium.
As Aloy and Erend traverse this alternate reality of the United States to find the person who murdered Erend’s sister, we are brought into two tales set in two timelines as we explore more of the rich narrative the Horizon Zero Dawn franchise has to offer.
Toole beautifully captures the persona of these characters and shows a deep understanding of not only the characters she has been given to work with but the world and culture she is building upon as well. Then when it comes to visuals we are transported right in the middle of this sci-fi dystopian America by Damaso and Valenza in which their collaboration of art style and coloring captures the essence of Horizon all while encompassing the magic that the games bring to the world of Horizon.
They also manage to really bring these characters to life with detailed gestures, even with a simpler art style that was adapted for Liberation. It’s an impressive balance of simplicity and texture throughout the panels in every aspect of the story all the way down to the environment and characters.
Lettering is and always is the unsung hero of comic books and I say it time and time again. Campbell is a veteran in his trade and the letter placement shows his experience and skill on every page. My take on it is if you can seamlessly read the dialogue and move through panels without the lettering being center point then the letterer has done one hell of a job.
Between adding layers to Ersa from Erend’s point of view as he told the story and described how he looked up to his sister and the importance of avenging her past a simple need of revenge was absolutely brilliant. Toole drives a rich narrative while giving life to Ersa through Erend which was beautiful and heartbreaking to experience as the reader.
So many unique bonds were explored in Liberation and to be able to experience outside of the video game medium was both unique and rewarding in its own way. Toole also did a great job of making this feel like a standalone experience that even those who have not experienced the games can jump into and experience the world of Horizon.
Overall, this was a truly rewarding experience as a fan of the Horizon franchise and the adventure-packed Liberation arc has something to offer both current and new fans of Horizon. The balance of both timelines, the ability to capture the essence of Horizon as well as a bold and rewarding story that tightens the bonds of friendship are something worth taking in with this story. If you want a glimpse of what the world of Horizon has to offer or if you simply want more insight on characters in the Horizon universe, then Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation is one that you should definitely look to add to your collection.
Preorder your copy here: Amazon