Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #3 – Comic Review

‘With the abrupt arrival of a Xenos craft on Sidra, the Kill Team are tasked with a new mission; to warn Xyston of the new invasion, Kaelar and Izrafel make their way to the gunship, only to find that it has been destroyed by the Xenos horde. Left with few options, and the highly corrosive acid rain beginning to fall, the team advance towards the transmission station in the heart of the colony, in the hopes of making contact with the Xyston Watchtower. After separating from the team, Sergeant Agathon is ambushed by a prime Ur-Ghul. Tiberius comes to his aid, whilst the rest of the team face a horde of Orks. Now the real battle begins.’

The tease for this issue, that ‘the real battle begins’ is incredibly apt for the third issue of the book as there are only around five or six pages within the book that aren’t given over to the horrific battles that the Space Marines of the Deathwatch are forced to fight.

The Space Marines of the Warhammer 40,0000 universe are easily some of the most ridiculously overpowered soldiers in sci-fi, one man armies capable of taking down dozens, if not hundreds of enemies themselves. Whilst this can sometimes fail to come across when playing the game (depending on your dice rolls they can be made to look ridiculously weak if you’ve got some bad luck) writer Aaron Dempski-Bowden really manages to put this concept across.

Following the brutal surprise attack from an Ur-Ghul in the final moments of issue #2 Veteran Sergeant Agathon has been thrown around, his armour broken and smashed, and even had one of his arms bitten off. Despite these wounds (which would spell the end of any normal human) Agathon doesn’t even slow in his paces, running and gunning from further Ork attacks, and manages to lead his team effectively.

Despite these demonstrations of Space Marine hardiness from Agathon, the stand out character for this issue has to be Rurik Warsong, the Terminator Armour clad warrior from the Space Wolves chapter. Having taken a leg wound that means he can’t run he chooses to stay behind to buy his comrades time to flee. Taking on more Orks than should be possible, Rurik kills dozens, all whilst being stabbed, cut, shot, and even impaled.

Rurik’s last stand is something to behold, with the old warrior thinking back through his past, remembering killing a giant wolf with nothing but an axe at just eight years old, to destroying enemies of the Imperium such as Chaos Space Marines and Necrons over 300 years. It spurs the ancient warrior on to fight to his dying breath, even when his weapons run out of ammunition. It’s a stunning moment, managing to feel suitably epic in its scope, whilst also capturing the sadness of the loss.

Tazio Bettin and Kevin Enhart, the artist and colourist respectively, manage to bring these moments to life in a stunning way, capturing the brutality of the battles. The action sequences have weight to them, and the giant warriors tearing through hulking Orks has a sense or realism to it that could have been lost with others working on the book. One of the prettiest sequences, however, has to be Rurik’s memories of his home-world, where the oranges and reds are replaced with blues and whites, bringing to life the frozen landscapes of Fenris in stunning visuals.

Warhammer 40,000: Deathwatch #3 isn’t big on story, not a great deal happens, but it manages to pack in some great character moments, and even gives powerful insight into Rurik (the MVP of the issue) without taking away from the brutal pace of the battle. The artwork and writing work brilliantly together, and sets up for what’s sure to be a fast paced and bloody finale.

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