Comic: "Dead Space"
Published by: Image Comics
Written by: Antony Johnston
Artist: Ben Templesmith
Reviewer: Dr. Boogie
Plot: On a planet scheduled to be mined, surveyors unearth a strange monolith. Debate emerges among the colonists as to the significance of the monolith, especially among Unitologists, who believe it to be an object from their religious text. Amidst the fighting, more and more of the colonists begin suffering bouts of insomnia, coupled with hallucinations of deceased loved ones warning them of something.
Review: A while back, I did a review of Dead Space, the game. It was entertaining enough that I thought I would check out the comic book prequel. In playing the game, you get the gist of what happened prior to an engineer confronting a space station filled with hideous monsters, but this is your opportunity to read up on it without all the added tension of an impending mutant attack.
And it is an interesting story to see played out. The so-called “Marker” is unearthed, and with its discovery comes speculation over whether or not it is the object of Unitologist dogma, or just an oddly-shaped chunk of rock. Seeing the conflict escalate from a religious debate into a bloody uprising is pretty interesting, even if the ultimate outcome can be seen on any number of previews for Dead Space.
When you play Dead Space, there are many times that you’ll stop to admire the great visuals. Unfortunately, there are no such moments in the comic. Artist Ben Templesmith opens with some nice panels that introduce the Marker itself, but the quality of the art drops off sharply after this. Many of the backgrounds are little more than sketches drawn onto a single-color smear. In one panel, an office is represented with a line drawing of a desk set on a greenish-yellow backdrop. That’s it. No windows in the background. No lines to show where the wall meets the floor/ceiling. Nothing.
The characters themselves don’t fare much better. Close-ups show rounded off rectangles (men) and inverted teardrops (women) with only a handful of line segments between them to show that they do, indeed, have facial features. And when they’re shown from more than a few feet away, you’d swear you were looking at a storyboard that someone decided to color. Some detail is put into depicting gore, but as this takes place before the events of Dead Space, the gore is sorely lacking.
If you’re curious about the backstory of Dead Space, I suggest skipping the comics and just playing the game. The events are described by the frightened NPCs who lived through them (though most live only for a few more seconds after), and it’s a cinch you’ll have many more exciting things to look at.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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