Overwatch: New Blood #1 feels like a sci-fi western story at times. What else would you expect from a cowboy named Cassidy with a cyborg arm and a do-gooder attitude to life?

Overwatch: New Blood #1 ~ Details

"Overwatch: New Blood #1" main cover art by Irene Koh.
I don’t know why, but he looks like he’s long overdue for some whiskey. Main cover artist: Irene Koh.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 is a new 5-issue comic book series based on the team-based multiplayer first-person shooter video game Overwatch by Blizzard Entertainment. Ray Fawkes is the writer, with Irene Koh as the artist, and Suzanne Geary as the colorist. Koh is also the main cover artist, with Dustin Nguyen responsible for the sole variant cover. Lastly, Dark Horse Comics is responsible for publishing this comic book series.

"Overwatch: New Blood #1" variant cover art by Dustin Nguyen.
All cowboys need a retro-looking hoverbike. Variant cover artist: Dustin Nguyen.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 went on sale on July 13, 2022 for a retail price of $3.99. You can purchase the physical or the digital version directly from Dark Horse Comics. If you want the version of this particular issue with the Dustin Nguyen variant cover, then you can also purchase it directly from Dark Horse Comics.

Warning: spoilers for Overwatch: New Blood #1 below. If you want to check out the Wild West-style shooting in a sci-fi world for yourself, then stop here, and come back once the last cartridges have stopped clinking on the sandy ground.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 ~ Plot Summary

"Overwatch: New Blood #1" preview page 1.
Well, time for him to ride off into the sunset. Instead of a horse though, he has a hoverbike.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 introduces us to Cassidy: US-based bounty hunter/mercenary with a heart of gold, a serious case of PTSD, and an apparent fetish for the Wild West look. Things change for him though when he gets an unsigned letter asking for a meetup all the way in Cairo, Egypt. Naturally, he agrees due to a perked curiosity. Once there at the exact coordinate listed in the letter, he finds Ana Amari: fellow ex-Overwatch operator, and apparently a close friend. They chat merrily about the old days before the talks turn to modern conflicts. Unfortunately, the talk quickly becomes very relevant when a bunch of Talon terrorists crash their party.

Cassidy and Ana show off both their gunnery skills and close friendship with their synchronized teamwork as they take down the Talons. The engagement ends with them retreating into one of Ana’s underground hideouts. There, Ana hands Cassidy a USB drive and a request to use the data in there to search the world for new heroes for a new Overwatch. Cassidy hesitantly agrees, and sets out on his quest for new blood.

A few days later, Cassidy makes his first encounter with a potential recruit: Pharah. Fortunately, it seems Pharah already knows Cassidy. Unfortunately, it seems she’s not to happy to see him. Even worse, the preview for the next issue reveals that she apparently has a beef with her mother: Ana. Will mother and daughter work out their problems for the sake of world peace? Well, that’s presumably what we’ll find out in Overwatch: New Blood #2.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 ~ The Good

"Overwatch: New Blood #1" preview page 2.
When Wild West meets sci-fi, you know things are going to be weird.

Strangely enough, I like the artwork of Overwatch: New Blood #1 the best. Irene Koh’s art style has an almost manga-like feel to it, which makes it visually appealing to me. As a longtime reader of manga, I give the art in this Overwatch comic book my approval. The only thing that’s missing in my opinion are the manga effects, but I can easily overlook that.

The story isn’t too bad either. The story at first feels like a traditional Spaghetti Western story about a lone wolf cowboy seeking to do good in the world, but it quickly diverges from that. Not in the latter sense about doing good. But rather, in that the story deconstructs the lone wolf archetype. We see in the fight against Talon that Cassidy would’ve been in deep trouble if not for Ana. Teamwork and friendship is clearly the message here. Even Cassidy’s mission of recruiting new soldiers for Overwatch plays into this theme. It’s nice to see a western (or at least western-inspired) story go against the lone cowboy stereotype here.

Also, bonus points for Overwatch: New Blood #1 being a prequel to that animated short by Blizzard, in case you were a fan of those shorts.

Overwatch: New Blood #1 ~ The Bad

"Overwatch: New Blood #1" preview page 3.
This is the most western page of this entire comic book.

I think the biggest flaw of Overwatch: New Blood #1 is how much it depends on your knowledge of the game’s story to comprehend. If you don’t at least have some rudimentary understanding of Overwatch (for me, from the animated character shorts only), you will probably struggle to comprehend good-sized chunks of the story in this comic book. Then again, you’ll probably not want to read this comic book unless you are already an Overwatch fan anyways, so it seems like it balances out there. And to be fair, Ray Fawkes does attempt to make the story more accessible to non-Overwatch fans. It’s not very effective, but at least he tried.

Source: Dark Horse Comics