Anthem Gets A Tie-In Comic Ahead Of Release

Siblings and Scars just make Freelancer life harder.


Freelancers and perspective Freelancers rejoice, Dark Horse has just given you an opportunity to expand your understanding of the high stakes, mech-infested world of Anthem even further with a brand new, three issue prequel comic. Creative team Alexander Freed, Mac Walters, and Eduardo Francisco have jumped into the years leading up to the player's journey in the game with two characters--Kismet, a young orphan who was originally created for the comic, and Jani, his adopted sister who will feature in the game as an adult.

In an interview with GameSpot, Freed described the comic's story as something fans both new and familiar to Anthem's in-game lore can appreciate. "[For new fans], it's an intimate, character-driven adventure in an alien world, taking a look at what it means to grow up and find purpose on a dangerous frontier. Flying power armor and over-the-top monsters and imaginative technology live alongside sibling rivalries and small-town dreams. For someone already passionate about the game, the comic is a way of diving deeper into the setting, exploring what daily life is like in the world of Anthem, and providing more background on certain characters and events. A comic can't match the visceral intensity of a video game, but it can offer depth in places the game can't."

Take a look at the first seven pages from issue number one here in this exclusive preview.

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On the design side, artist Eduardo Francisco spoke about the challenge of matching BioWare and EA's specific design aesthetics for a new medium. "BioWare's artists beautifully crafted the backgrounds, armor, and every single detail, and every element has a purpose or function in the game," he said. "In a way, it was intimidating to try to match that quality in sequential pages. I had to find a way to simplify the elements in the scene to optimize the production, so I just focused on storytelling. Kismet is original to the comics, so his design was up to me. The other main character in the comics, Jani, will appear in the game, as an adult. Jani appears as a young girl in issue #1, so I just needed to reverse engineer her appearance based on how she looks as an adult in the game."

And speaking of Jani and Kismet, Freed continued by teasing the importance of their relationship in Anthem's ongoing story. " Without giving too much away, Jani and Kismet are both troubled youths who balance out one another's extremes. Alone, each spirals into self-destructive behavior--Jani, born in Fort Tarsis, is desperate for a thrill to make her forget her difficult home life, and Kismet is brilliant but traumatized and fearful from a childhood encounter with the horrifying Scars. Over time, each finds a role among Anthem's strange factions. But balance is rarely stable, and the pendulum swings back and forth. Jani and Kismet are in for a rough road."

It's that rough road and tenuous balance that will propel the final two issues of the prequel forward, Freed said, while continuing to expand on the depth and the mythology of the game's rich world.

Anthem #1 is on sale now. Make sure to check out GameSpot's review in progress of Anthem, which Kallie Plagge said, "I'm currently treating Anthem's disparate missions as an excuse to try a new weapon or special attack, which, combined with flight, gives me incentive to keep going. I'm hoping that I get more out of the story as I go on, but so far it's too generic to get its hooks in me. I'll keep playing on PC--I've luckily only been kicked due to server issues twice--so look out for the full review in the next few days."

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