Long before Kait, JD and Del united to take on The Swarm in Gears of War 4, Marcus Fenix and the COG Army faced the barbaric tyranny of General RAAM and the Locust uprising on Emergence Day. Now, for the first time, witness his swift and brutal ascent to general of the Locust army in the graphic novel collection of Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM.
The trade paperback collects all four single issues from IDW Publishing, the first of which needed to go to second printing after selling out the first run, and includes 10 in-game Gears of War 4 cards featuring comic book weapon skins and a bonus card of a guaranteed multiplayer character: Vold RAAM OR Uzil Sraak*.
Before he was a general leading the assault against humanity on the surface, RAAM was an defiant commander tasked with waging an unwinnable war against the Lambent to protect the Locust homeland. With the enemy pushing inexorably forward, he knows the Horde must turn its attention to more vulnerable prey, and he’ll use every atrocity and deception at his disposal to bring Queen Myrrah around to his way of thinking.
A prequel to the original Gears of War, Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM is written by Kurtis J. Wiebe (Rat Queens) with art by Max Dunbar (Dungeons & Dragons). Read on for their insight behind this new addition to Gears of War lore:
What makes RAAM the right character to focus on in Gears of War comics?
Kurtis J. Wiebe (KW): RAAM is by far a fan-favorite villain in the Gears of War franchise. When looking at where to start with a new Gears series, I spoke with Rod Fergusson at The Coalition and we both agreed we wanted to come back with something that felt familiar to fans of the series. We also wanted to take it in a direction that fans wouldn’t expect, and RAAM fit both of those criteria.
Max Dunbar (MD): He’s this driving force, full of ambition and brutality, but also loyalty. He’s so resilient and competent – and badass – that readers will root for him in spite of knowing him as their enemy from the first game.
Where does this story fit in to the larger Gears of War canon?
KW: Rise of RAAM follows the infamous villain from his years fighting the Lambent until E-Day. We see the events that inspire his decision to take the fight to the surface, what his motivations are behind rallying the Horde to his cause and ultimately the assault on the humans of Sera.
Max, there are a lot of iconic designs that appeared in the games, from the Locust to the weapons themselves. What’s been the most difficult to adapt to comics, and alternatively, what’s been the most fun to illustrate?
MD: The Locust world, like everything else in the games, was really carefully designed, and it’s all really intricate and ornate. The various armors that different characters wear are all very distinct and complicated, which can slow down the drawing process for sure, because I need to stay faithful to the original designs.
However, all of it is really fun to draw. If I had to pick my most favorite thing to draw, it would have to be the battle scenes. Kurtis has not held back anything at all in his writing. There are some absolutely brutal fights that RAAM takes part in.
The world-building within the games has been expansive, what kind of mark do you hope to leave on the Gears of War franchise with this series?
KW: We’ve been very fortunate to work alongside The Coalition in further fleshing out lore and canon that has been presented so far in the games, comics and novels. For this arc, we’re delving into Locust society, how they operate and other areas that have been hinted at, like their religion.
My hope is to create a really compelling character in RAAM and fill in the sequence of events that, until now, have not been explored.
For fans of the series that might not read comics, how would you present them with the Rise of RAAM?
KW: I think any Gears fan wants to know more about RAAM. Rise of RAAM is an awesome insight into a fan-favorite villain, but in this story arc we’re treating him as the hero.
MD: We’re trying to keep it cinematic, entertaining and brutal, just like the games themselves. It will be a great way to get some more content on RAAM and delve into his rise to power from within the Locust.
To further commemorate the ascension of the notorious Gears adversary, Insert Coin Clothing has created a Rise of RAAM Baseball Tee, now available for purchase. For more on Gears of War, be sure to catch up with the E3 2018 announcement of Gears 5, Gears Pop! and Gears Tactics and stay tuned to Xbox Wire or follow on Twitter @gearsofwar.
Gears of War 4 Xbox One X Enhanced was re-released on November 7, 2017 and added True 4K graphics, Dolby Atmos surround and other performance features and is available as a free update for all Gears of War 4 players.
The complete Gears of War catalog is now available on Xbox Game Pass which includes Xbox One X Enhanced updates for Gears of War 2 and Gears of War 3, adding 4K Ultra HD resolution modes to the original releases. Take on RAAM after you learn more about him, know your enemy.
And finally, Gears Pro Circuit joins forces with Halo Championship Series for the first time in history in New Orleans from July 13-15, with tickets and team passes available here. Gears players will compete for a $250,000 prize pool in what will be one of the most anticipated events in Gears Pro Circuit history. Check out the event announcement and follow along with the action at http://gears.gg or follow on Twitter @EsportsGears.
*Digital content limited to first printing of the Trade Paperback Edition of Gears of War: The Rise of RAAM