When the Marneus Calgar by Marvel was announced. I didn't really know what to think at first. I'm a big fan of many of the Black Library stories, but producing a comic like this is a different medium of story telling. I ended up reading the first trade paperback collecting issues #1-5. I'm going to just come out and say it. This was good and accomplished exactly what it set out to do.
The Ultramarines are the poster boys of Warhammer 40,000. Although Roboute Guilliman is their Primarche, Marneus is their Chapter Master, the highest ranking Space Marine. Going into stories like this, I lie in this weird in between space. I'm not brand new to Warhammer 40k, but I'm also not a seasoned veteran by any stretch. Putting out a comic book with the poster boy of the IP on cover clearly is about bringing newer people in. Don't let that stop you though because there is some good stuff in here for new fans, and fans of Space Marines.
I didn't know the Calgar origin story, and like any first trade of a comic, that's exactly what this is. You are flung into the grimdark future of the 41st millennium. The first panel has the superior war machine that is a transhuman Space Marine laying waste to a charging line of Chaos cultists with gore spewing everywhere. I mean like Invincible comic levels of gore.
Throughout this book, it ticks all the boxes. I don't want to spoil it, but all the key elements of a standard Warhammer 40k story are here. One of the things I appreciate are the primers for people that are new to the world are set off to the side on their own pages and easily skippable if you don't need them. That was a nice touch, and the reason why I think this books speaks to a wider swath of readers than just newbies.
Although I was a skeptic at first, I'm glad I read through this book and am looking forward to picking up the Sisters of Battle trade paperback.