FORMAT: SINGLE ISSUE | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Ultramarines are often maligned as the ‘vanilla’ faction in the Warhammer 40,000 setting. The ‘by-the-book’ strait-laced Space Marines are frequently used to introduce people to the Grim Dark future and as such many of us move on to more quirky and bizarre elements of this massive franchise. Marvel Comics have chosen to take us back to basics with Warhammer 40,000: Marneus Calgar, giving us an origin story of sorts for one of Ultramarine’s greatest heroes.
It’s a very welcome approach; the first issue doesn’t overload us with intricate lore, but instead sets up the sort of mystery that humanity’s genetically enhanced super-soldiers are good at solving - one that requires shooting things. Kieron Gillen plays this book incredibly straight. Calgar is a hero of the Imperium Mankind, steadfast and indefatigable. The voice of the character is perfect; this is an unyielding power in the face of insurmountable evil. The narrative introduces the basics of the setting without it feeling forced. This is a grim future, filled with war. Humanity stands on the edge of true chaos and worse. The result is lots of action and solid storytelling.
Jacen Burrow’s art is a perfect mix of Games Workshop’s busy gothic style and Marvel’s famously bold imagery, striking the balance between clarity and detail in an exact fashion, right down to the vehicles and armour. This is a promising start to what we hope becomes a very long running series.