Edelweiss, Fantasy, Gaming, Graphic / comic

Watch Out, An Anthology Overview Overwatch Anthology Volume 1 By Blizzard Entertainment

Overwatch: Anthology Volume 1

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★★★✬☆  3.5 stars

Ah, Overwatch. The only place where telling the time on your stopped wristwatch is foreshadowing mass manslaughter (at least, you hope so)

Don’t you wonder where it all started for our rag-tag band of heroes / villains / … Wait, why are you here? Well never mind that. This Anthology is essentially a mashup of various official Blizzard Entertainment Overwatch comics that venture into the lives of our characters and the events they’re part of, so we’ll probably get a linear story out of this, I’m sure of it! The important thing for now is that finally, in book form, we have all the answers to our questions. Why did they join Overwatch? When? What are their origins, yep, all our answers lie within these covers. Or do they?

So did it meet hopes and expectations?

Really, the answer to that is both yes and no. The fact is, if you were hoping for an actual progressive story to start forming within the background of these panels, you’ll be pretty disappointed. That’s not to say there is no story, there’s tons, but it’s all scrambled, from the order of presentation to the setting and mood of each piece. Blizzard are clearly very careful not to blur any lines, if they want you to understand something about a character, you will immediately recognise it, but if they feel that it’s not in their interests to put that heavily shipped fan theory to rest one way or another, well, keep hoping, OK? Your head canon will work someday!

The Tactical Visor led to some real gems though.

So I want to make it clear, I LOVE these comics, they clearly focus on the re-launching of Overwatch, so we get a fresh approach from “where did they start” to “where are they now?” If you’ve followed the lore up to this point, boy you’re in for a treat, get ready for an Earthshatter cause these are breaking some serious ground. While they don’t create a vivid sense of progression and direct understanding for each hero, we do learn to feel the characters here, and we’re lucky enough to follow the trail of our old soldiers a little further than the rest, so in that way, it’s definitely well accompanied by a cup of tea.

Alright Ebil. That’s all great, but, where’s the Bastion?

OK, so there are some problems and this is why I can’t bring myself to give it a 4+ star review! As is usually the case with game lore, these comics are just too sparse in terms of length and content. Not only do we end up without a real sense of “place” in the story, but we find more questions than answers. Despite having trawled the internet for lore, some of the concepts referenced are simply too vague due to a reluctance to lock themselves into a certain path or history. You can’t really blame them, but when someone perhaps less well-versed sees the gorgeous artwork (which is 10/10 btw) and looks into it, I would imagine they’d be more lost and disappointed than I was. It definitely suffers from “pre-requisite knowledge” and I can’t overlook that. Even with the knowledge certain aspects still leave me puzzled.

Don’t be picky! Embrace Tranquility!

At the end of the day, these were free extra fan service comics, they’re aimed towards the nuts who live and breathe the game and just want more. It’s quite possible that my slight disappointment is only due to the fact I wanted a meaningful story to be told, but these short tales aren’t for our heads, they’re for our hearts. I feel more connected to each character, like I understand them more, their motives. If you take the time to read the backstory, these comics make you understand why they’ve become who they are now, and that was Blizzard’s aim. Who knows, this is volume 1, maybe the story I’m looking for is lurking around the corner as sure as a Reaper with Death Blossom…

I thank Blizzard Entertainment, Dark Horse Books and Edelweiss for giving me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Did you read any of these comics when they were released online? Do you play Overwatch? Most importantly, what did you think of my first review post? Share all that and more with me in the comments below!

Avalinah’s co-blogger, resident expert on fantasy. Outside of blog life – e-sports colour caster, games streamer on Twitch, #TwitchAffiliate.

20 thoughts on “Watch Out, An Anthology Overview Overwatch Anthology Volume 1 By Blizzard Entertainment

  1. Very interesting. I had no idea the game was based off of comics. I don’t play it because I didn’t enjoy it, but my husband and brother enjoy it quite a bit.

    1. As Evelina said, it’s based on the game! I can understand why you don’t enjoy it. I used to enjoy it a lot more than I do now myself.

  2. Thanks for reviewing. I don’t play Overwatch, so I guess I’ll pass on this one. That said, I have nothing against tie-in comics/novels. In fact, I really get a kick out of books that manage to wring compelling stories and memorable characters out of games. Some of my favourite fiction comes from the Warhammer novel series.

    1. That’s what everyone wants, a real novel to give us the history but as is the case with these multiplayer games, it’s unlikely we’ll ever get one. Something like Warhammer does a great job of filling that space and building a connection!

    1. Pick-me-ups is 100% the right term for them! They really are fun, I just get left needing more though! Not always in a good way hehe.

  3. Ebilshrimp! Great first review– I’ve never played any of the Blizzard games, but I know enough to be dangerous. Are there other Overwatch books out there? I know how important getting fan theories validated can be… I have my own fan-loves and theories I’d love to see come true. If there are others, have you read them or do you plan on reading them?

    The cover looks gorgeous– and I know you mentioned the art is 10/10. What about the art appeals to you so much? Since this is an anthology does the collection have the same illustrator/colorist throughout? Or does it change by story? SO MANY QUESTIONS!

    Great job! I look forward to more reviews from you.
    Jackie B. recently posted…Poison StudyMy Profile

    1. I’ve been a very bad shrimp, perhaps even ebil..

      There are still comics being released and also a great number of “Animated Shorts” that show some really awesome lore. So well made as well.
      I read them all as and when they release, though I have to admit my Overwatch passion has hidden in a corner with all the competitive decisions made by Blizz. Makes me sad.

      The art style is very true to a classic “comic” feel and has a stark contrast to the in game models, but close enough to give the contact. It creates a very real story element feel by taking away the “cartoony” vibe of the game. I’m pretty sure the artist is consistent as a result.

      Thanks! Since it’s sci-fi month you may need to wait a little bit for my Fantasy flair but it’s coming!

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