Mass Effect Comics: A Rundown

by J.D. Cook

I am a huge Mass Effect fan. I have been since I first rented the game from Blockbuster way back in 2007. I was immediately drawn into the game because it was extremely similar to a story I had come up with a few months before. Except that this game took my ideas and developed them better than I ever could. I love when I see my ideas done well or taken in directions I never thought of. On the flip side I hate when I see a movie or play a game I know I could have done better such as X-Men 3: The Last Stand or Iron Man 3…the horror…the horror. Anyway the Mass Effect comic books were a really exciting prospect when Dark Horse Comics and Bioware first announced them. Unfortunately they have quickly lost their appeal because I know they could be done better.

The first story arc of the Mass Effect comics was called Redemption and dealt with Liara T’Soni attempting to recover Commander Shepherd’s body after it was spaced in the opening of Mass Effect 2. Following that the next big story arc was called Evolution and explained the origins of the Illusive Man. It was a pretty underwhelming series of issues and only explained one very specific slice of his origin; how he gained knowledge of the Reapers. There could have been ten issues worth of material dealing with how he built Cerberus instead of this. After this was Invasion. In this story Aria T’Loak has the asteroid Omega stolen from her by Cerberus leading directly to the downloadable content mission in Mass Effect 3 where you re-take the station. Unfortunately because Invasion was released before the 3rd game I, like many, assumed that it would lead directly into the game. When Omega did not even show up in the game upon release it only added to my frustration with the 3rd game.

Homeworlds was the next story arc and it was pretty much the worst series of issues yet. One whole issue was dedicated to James Vega’s back story. It was basically a whole issue of him running away from police because he ran drugs for his Uncle; yawns across the board. If it was developed and interesting I might not have minded so much despite my dislike of the character. Each issue dealt with a different character from the games but none of them were really very memorable except maybe the one that dealt with how Tali Zorah nar Rayya came to the Citadel.

Since then the series has focused on its current arc, called, Foundation. The point of this story is to explain where the female enemy Rasa came from. She’s known as Brooks in the Citadel DLC mission for Mass Effect 3. The series started interestingly but after two issues focusing on Jacob and Miranda lost on Omega it has sort of sputtered out.

It seems like it should be a really simple prospect to develop a Mass Effect comic book series. I’d love to have a story arc focusing on the early years of Zaeed Massani or another awesome character that wasn’t given enough to do in the games like Katsumi. The universe is extremely rich and detailed but the comics keep retreading over the video games path instead of creating their own. As I said before I hate reading, watching or playing something I know I could do better and if I was in control of the Mass Effect comics I’d develop a deep storyline in the Universe that wasn’t dependent on the games. In other words I’d add to the existing mythos instead of simply filling in the holes.

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