Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 manages to do what the video game didn’t have the time for. That would be: giving Ersa a backstory.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 cover A.
Love the anime-like art style of this cover. Cover A artist: Peach Momoko.

Ben McCaw and Anne Toole are the writers behind Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1. Meanwhile, Elmer Damaso is the artist for this comic book series. This comic book also features Peach Momoko, Guerilla Games themselves, Harvey Tolibao, Ann Maulina, and Adrian Wilkins provide cover art for the entire series. Oh, and lastly, Titan Comics is the publisher for this comic book.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 cover B.
So much fluffy hair. Cover B artist: Guerilla Games.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 will go on sale on July 28, 2021. You can find print copies of this comic book at your local comic book store. However, if you’re fine with the digital version, you can download it directly from Titan Comics’ own website here.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 cover C.
You bred Ravagers? Cover C artist: Harvey Tolibao.
Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 cover D.
Clever girls. Cover D artist: Ann Maulina.
Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 cover E.
Huh, looks like a scene right out of the game. Cover E artist: Adrian Wilkins.

Warning: spoilers for Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 below. If you’re interested in this newest adventure with Aloy, stop here, and come back once you have returned from the robo-dinosaur-infested landscape.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 ~ Plot Summary

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 preview page 1.
I swear, Damaso almost makes this look like Avatar: The Last Airbender.

The plot of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 actually starts us off by setting the time for when this comic book takes place in the game. The comic explains that this takes place just before Aloy sets off towards Maker’s End. This is a side story where Aloy goes on a bit of a journey with Erend Vanguardsman. It seems that he’s on the trail of a killer named Korl, and he desperately needs Aloy’s tracking skills to follow Korl.

It’s while following Korl that Erend gets a chance to tell the tale of Ersa to Aloy. It also lets us see what part Korl plays in this story, since apparently he wound up being responsible for her death somehow. But getting back to the backstory, Ersa and Erend were part of an Oseram band under Dervahl. One day, they went on a raid against a Carja slave convoy. The attack mostly goes well (despite a bit of trouble had by Erend), and they free the slaves. Only, when Erend looks back, he notices that Ersa isn’t following them in their getaway.

Turns out, the Carja managed to capture Ersa in the confusion of the melee. They do what they normally do with captives under the reign of Mad Sun King Jiran: throw them into a gladiator pit to fight against machines until they die. Only, Ersa doesn’t die. Not even unarmed (initially) against a Ravager. Except, this only amuses Jiran further. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see what he sends next, because Erend cuts the story short at that point when he discovers that Korl has cut the bridge leading to him. He and Aloy can’t climb down either, because the ravine below is infested with Ravagers. So what do they do next? Well, we’ll just have to see in the next issue of Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 ~ The Good

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 preview page 2.
Trail stories: the bloody edition.

If you liked Horizon Zero Dawn, then you’ll like Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1. This comic book could basically be the story for a DLC for the game. The fact that it features Ersa as the main character is a nice bonus too. Ersa was a pretty sympathetic character, so it’s nice to see more of her, and how she came to be. It’s also nice to see everyone else’s past, including Dervahl, since he was the one who eventually kills Ersa in the game. We get hints of his backstory in the game proper, but not all that much. Hopefully, this comic book goes into his backstory as well.

The artwork for Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 is also pretty nice. It gives an almost anime appearance to the characters, much like Avatar: The Last Airbender. As an anime fan, I give this my approval. I do hope that this comic book series and the previous one leads to more Horizon Zero Dawn media. Maybe even an animated TV series, eventually? Eh, one can hope.

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 ~ The Bad

Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 preview page 3.
Definitely bad for Ersa, but a good source of drama for us.

In my opinion, anything bad I say about Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 is just nitpicking. If I had to pick one thing bad to say about it, is that it feels too short. I wish it was just a bit longer. Plus, that cliffhanger at the end. It’s almost literally a cliffhanger. I wish the writer had found a slightly better way to end this issue. Now I just have to wait in anticipation for the next issue.


Horizon Zero Dawn: Liberation #1 reveals a bit more of the game’s story. In particular, this comic book reveals more of Ersa’s backstory, while also telling a tale of Aloy and Erend. Are you perhaps a fan of the game who’s eager for more? Especially with Horizon Forbidden West on the horizon? Then check out this sci-fi comic book series from Titan Comics.

Source: Titan Comics