Review: Scars Parts I and II / Author: Chris Wraight / Publisher: The Black Library / Release Date: Every Wednesday from August 7th
The Black Library has been threatening to release a serialised drama for some time now, ever since it closed its regular short story anthology, Hammer and Bolter. Speculation has been rife as to what they’d turn into a multi-part drama, and despite high hopes of a multi-part Gotrek and Felix audio drama, the honour has gone to the ubiquitous Horus Heresy brand. We got a sneak peak at the first two parts of this twelve part story, and like what we see so far.
Scars gives us an insight into the White Scars; a faction of Mongol warrior style warriors who have been barely touched so far. Part one catalogues the journey of Tamu, a young boy who is recruited (and then surgically altered) to become part of the elite White Scars Space Marine Legion. Pulled from his home and dipped into a strange world with standards and traditions radically different to his own, this protagonist seems destined to have a rough time of it. Wraight is clearly laying the groundwork for future dramatic tension, giving our protagonist a sort of duality and cognitive dissonance that is unique to the origins of Warhammer 40,000 Space Marines, especially those during the Horus Heresy era.
Part two introduces Ilya Ravallion, a starship captain charged with ferrying the White Scars from victory to victory. Strong Imperial Captains have almost become a cliché of the series, but it’s always nice to see the promise of more spaceships blowing up, so it’s forgivable. There is so much ship –to-shop combat in the Horus Heresy that it’s quite remarkable that Games Workshop haven’t made it into its own fully supported game, maybe something involving the setting’s gothic looking battle fleets. We also see the mighty Jaghatai Khan for the first time; the god-like leader of the White Scars, and the tendrils of conflict and heresy continue to grow. Wraight is clearly keen to make this tale a match for the more popular books in the series, and there is certainly a lot of potential here.
Though both parts are short, they are also tightly written and interesting pieces, without an ounce of fat on them. Wraight is certainly a steady and clever story teller who seems to be willing to exploit the advantages that serialisation can bring. We look forward to the next instalment of the drama.