Review - God of War #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"Yes. Though it seems that today's test has already begun."

When you're going up against the gods, you need to have either a LOT of luck or a capable fighter on your side. Kratos doesn't really offer much of the first, but he's got plenty of the latter. In God of War #1 from Dark Horse Comics, Kratos is given plenty of opportunity to showcase the fighting talents. The issue is written by Chris Roberson, illustrated by Tony Parker, colored by Dan Jackson and lettered by John Rosnell.

Kratos, God of War, has returned! His war on the gods of Olympus long past, Kratos builds a new life for himself in the remote Norse wilds. Seeking to put the rage that defined most of his life behind him, Kratos inadvertently sparks a feud with a mysterious cult of berserkers after attempting to save a stranger being mauled by a monstrous bear. But for the former Ghost of Sparta, no good deed goes unpunished.

The entire issue plays out very familiarly to fans of Kratos with Roberson working in the Norse mythology of the latest incarnation of the series as a vehicle for conflict. What makes Kratos tick is his extremely cold demeanor and Roberson characterizes him as such for the most part in the first issue. The underpinning of the first issue is Kratos' relationship with his son Atreus, although Roberson spends most of the issue following Kratos and a stream of conscious narrative. Normally that works, but in case of Kratos it feels a little out of character; fans of the series know that most of the game is spent in silence even if Kratos has a traveling companion. Roberson is working to establish Kratos as a character, yet it feels as if Kratos (and the issue) would've been better served if much of the issue was spent in silence with Kratos just moving through the forest.

Tapping Parker for the artwork is a solid decision, as he does a strong job of capturing the ferocity and physique of Kratos. Parker renders Kratos in a way that's very similar to the in-game version, but Atreus bears slightly less resemblance to his video game counterpart. Kratos thrives on violence (whether he likes it or not) and Parker handles those scenes without an abundance of blood and gore yet still manage to get that ferocity across. The clean panel layout lends itself well to the personality of Kratos in that for as much as he's forced to fight through all manner of foe he's actually more content living a solitary life that doesn't require him to rip the limbs off during fighting. Jackson does well on the colors, accurately capturing the cold environment of the comic where Kratos lives amongst the snow and Norse gods.

God of War #1 makes itself right at home within the context of the series as a whole. Kratos finds himself in a situation that't not very different from other similar situations and he seems to know exactly the best way to respond: fighting. Roberson pens a script that's fast-moving and presents a version of Kratos that feels appropriately within character. Parker's artwork feels right at home for the series and excellently conveys to new readers just how much of beast Kratos truly is. God of War #1 feels like a part of the larger mythos in how it mostly captures the essence of Kratos and his struggles.

God of War #1 is available November 14.