"Things are seldom what they seem in this universe. In my experience, they're usually a damn sight worse." - Inquisitor Titus Drake from Sandy Mitchell's For the Emperor
The first legion. The sons of The Lion. The monastic warriors who hide a dark secret. An army that I easily have 20,000 points of miniatures in. This first founding chapter is dear to me and many who play 40K. We are initiated in its dark rites and lore. Most of us know who George Mann is and are familiar with his contributions to The Black Library. We know he made his mark dealing in Raven Guard tales and not hunting for "The Falen." However, there are many out there that are not as familiar. Infact, most might not even know who Lion El'Johnson is. It is hard to sum up a Chapter of Adeptus Astartes in a simple run-on sentence, but I shall try.
The Dark Angels are super duper space monks whose home world was destroyed due to the fact that 10,000 years ago half of their chapter turned traitor so now they spend the rest of their time hunting those who betrayed them to bring them to the Emperor's Light.
If you don't know who The Emperor is, I can not help you. Now on to the comic.
Supreme High Master Azrael of the Dark Angels has an assignment. The Calaphrax Cluster has been a warp ravaged warzone sense the Warmaster Horus turned on his father and led half the Imperium against Holy Terra. However, the warp storms have abated of late and there lies a problem for the Dark Angels in the heart of one of those worlds contained in Calaphrax. This is a problem to which an Interrogator Chaplin is suited, bringing in The Fallen. Azrael dispatches a strike force to deal with this problem. However, It appears someone has been listening in on his plans.
Inquisitor Sabbathiel seems to have a grudge against the first legion. She suspects, rightly, of their traitorous past. She has taken it upon herself to bring their secret before the Imperium, but she is no fool. Crossing an Astartes is not something one expects to do and live. She will observe with her cadre and let the Angels of the Rock incriminate themselves.
But the inquisition isn't the only forces watching. The Chaos Space Marines known as The Iron Warriors wait for the Dark Angels planetfall. They seek vengeance upon those who follow the false emperor and know how to bait a hook. As drop pods fall upon Exyrion, the Dark Angels find a world lost Chaos.
Before I go insane, I would like to point out that the protagonist known as Baltus is described at the front of the comic as being part of the Second Company. The Second Company is known as the Ravenwing and have their own heraldry and insignia upon their obsidian painted armor. Sense this is a strike force, I might be convinced he took on another role, but that seems counter to every Dark Angel bone in my body. If your a member of the Ravenwing - YOU NEED A BIKE! This is just the first comic, maybe he will hold a Corvus Hammer in the future. Don't know. But this is wrong.
This lays at the heart of what being a 40K fan is and why people like me need to chill out. George Mann wrote this. He is a writer for Black Library and Games Workshop (my employer) and he has significantly more right to tell a story how he see's fit than I am to critique him over his departure from cannon. He makes cannon after all. Maybe it was the artist's that got it wrong? Maybe they didn't get all the right notes? In the end it doesn't really matter and I shouldn't let this hamper my enjoyment of what might be a great story. This is "rules lawyering" at it's worst.
Leaving all that aside, it's great to see Warhammer 40K back on the comic shelves state-side again. If you love the lore as I do, there is no question that you are going to buy this book. For those of you who are unfamiliar with 40K and you are turned off by the steep learning curve or the intimidation factor of nerds like me getting... nerdy... about the subject matter, then I understand that this may not be for you. Maybe pick it up when it gets a hardcover.