REVIEW: Borderlands Origins #1

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To say that I’m a fan of the Borderlands video games would be a bit of an understatement. I have poured more time into Borderlands 2 in two months than I have in games I have consistently played for years. Now, to find out we were getting a comic series based on one of my favorite franchises, well, I was excited. So I dove right in this week when Borderlands Origins #1 came out and I’ve got a Major Spoilers review waiting for you after the jump.

BORDERLANDS ORIGINS #1
Writer: Mikey Neumann
Artist: Augustin Padilla
Colorist: Esther Sanz
Letterer: Shawn Lee
Cover Artist: Augustin Padilla & Esther Sanz
Editor: Tom Waltz
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Price: $3.99

Previously in Borderlands Origins:This is the first issue of a prequel series so, the characters grew up? Seriously though, this is a four issue mini-series with each issue focusing on one of the four Vault Hunters from the first Borderlands and how they ended up in Marcus’s bus for the opening scene of that game. Issue one focuses on the stoic Roland, the Soldier, former member of the Crimson Lance.

SERGEANT [SURNAME REDACTED]

We open on Roland way outside of civilized territory reading a document with the statement “Sergeant or lower rank prohibited. Punishable by death.” This alone shows us that he has stepped down the path of regretting his involvement with the Crimson Lance and Atlas Corp. From here we step to him bonding with the small unit he commands. The scene plays out enough for us to get the general idea of who the group is: the grizzled veteran that’s been with Roland forever, the gullible young loyalist of both the Lance and Roland, and the fresh recruit new to the group that has a very negative past. Other than the probable misnomer of detriment instead of demerit the scene plays out effectively including a ridiculous story of Roland taking out a hundred man regiment with a taco. We’re also given the idea that Roland and his crew are the personal errand runners of an Atlas higher-up, Higgins.
Speaking of said high-muckety-muck, he shows up to have a talk with Roland and confront him on the document Roland had at the beginning. Once convinced that Roland isn’t trying to betray him, Higgins sends the crew to deal with a pest problem called Crumblers in a collapsed valley called “The Collapsed Valley”. After we see the crew being considerably bad-ass in their take-down of the crumblers we get the real reason they were sent. Higgins didn’t believe the lies Roland was giving him and is there to take out Roland’s team. You can imagine how things go from here, but I won’t spoil it any further.

SCENE’S FROM THE BORDER

Padilla does a great job with the art. Considering the game itself is done in cell-shaded animation I wasn’t expecting the book to match all that well, which it doesn’t, but it still looks great. Roland is still identifiable as Roland. Each of the main characters looks like someone from the universe that Borderlands takes place in. I have no complaints about the way this looks. For a bit I disliked the rhino-esque look of the crumblers, but they grew on me after the second or third look.

BOTTOM LINE: FANS SHOULD GET IT

The book manages to feel exactly like something that would happen in the Borderlands universe with the backstabbing and the bad-assery, which is the best that one could ask for. We get a satisfying reason as to why Roland left the Lance, which happens to be one of the more mysterious items left from the first game. As an introduction to the world of Pandora, this is a bad idea. As an enhancement for any fan of the series, Borderland Origins is doing more than I could ask for. While the story is somewhat predictable and the characters very trope-y, the necessity of such sets everything apart, allowing Borderlands Origins #1 to earn a solid 3.5 out of 5 stars and get me excited for the next issue.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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