Friday, October 28, 2011

Mass Effect Invasion #1

Writer: Mac Walters
Script: John Jackson Miller
Art: Omar Francia

Critical about the prior Mass Effect comic books – most notably my distain for the so-called Illusive Man origin story – I have a mental hurdle to cross when reading Mass Effect Invasion. This new four-part run from Dark Horse is a side story taking place around the events of Mass Effect 3 the game. Cerberus is experimenting with Reaper tech beyond the Omega 4 Relay. Unfortunately Cerberus is once again behind a huge mess and the rest of the galaxy has to suffer the consequences.

Aria T’Loak, ruler of Omega, reached an agreement with Cerberus: Omega is a one stop supply hub for all Cerberus’ vessel traveling through the Omega 4 Relay – a once hostile Reaper owned part of space. A staunch businesswoman…business-alien? Aria wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity for profit. And she could regulate traffic at will. No One can enter or leave Omega without her permission…until things instantly take a turn for the worse.

Cerberus is always one to tamper with new technology in the hopes of harnessing it for the better of the human race. But they frequently over-step their limits. Adjutants, or reanimated corpses are running loose on Omega. The Reaper tech has given these alien zombies the power to withstand ammunitions fire; only a biotic user (Something Aria is more than proficient in) can dispatch the indoctrinated menace.

Probably a really bad way to start a day for this guy.

Mass Effect Invasion is laden with Mass Effect lore. It’s far too difficult for someone to pick this single issue up and understand the faintest thing about the universe Bioware has created. Such a barrier to entry makes this a tough sell to the non committed, or those not absolutely crazy about the Mass Effect franchise.

Lead writer on Mass Effect 2 and 3, Mac Walters devised this tale. And I’m not entirely sure his form of story telling translates to this medium. I’m a big fan of short, concise lines of dialogue in comics. It sounds nitpicky but Walters just uses too many words. Keep it simple, down to only the important stuff -- Although, the task of actually framing the dialogue may have lied with scripter John Jackson Miller. I especially find it a detractor when a character can say a whole speech during an action scene. It’s not realistic, and it kind of pulls me out of the frantic moment.

I’ll be pretty mum on the visuals. Mass Effect Invasion is a bland looking trade. It’s not that the alien races look drastically different from their video game counterparts…they just look very ugly. The proportions of each person from panel to panel are so odd looking. Aria looks so different from one scene to the next. It’s a mess.

Nonetheless Mass Effect Invasion #1 leaves on an interesting note. And it needed too. Once again I can only see the hardcore Mass Effect heads digesting this comic series. I’m not looking forward to the next issue, but Mac Walters may surprise me yet. 

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