Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dead Space: Salvage

Written by Antony Johnston
Art by Christopher Shy

I usually avoid comics that are video game adaptions, but the first Dead Space mini-series was written by Antony Johnston (Wasteland) and Ben Templesmith (Fell), two creators I have tremendous amounts of respect for.

And that first mini-series was excellent.  From what I can gather, Dead Space the game is a cross between Aliens and The Walking Dead, where the player works their way through a gigantic spaceship killing reanimated corpses.  There's not a lot of story potential there, but then Johnston added a controversial religion (Unitology), and its most holy relic, the Marker, which causes changes in people, and the series took off.

In Dead Space: Salvage, Johnston returns to this story.  This original graphic novel follows a group of illegal miners who have been strip mining an asteroid belt when they discover the Ishimura, the vessel on which all the Dead Space action takes place.  There are government forces looking for it, so the miners have to figure out how to strip the vessel of any value before being caught.  This causes them to board the ship, and the predictable happens, as corpses come back to life, and a lot of people die.

Johnston downplays the religious aspect in this story, which did cause my interest to wane a little, but the problem I had with this comic lay in Christopher Shy's fully-painted art.  I'm not a big fan of painted comics in general, but I found that Shy's art was unnecessarily stiff and murky.  The characters were not easy to differentiate visually, and some of the action scenes were ambiguous.  Compared to the work that Templesmith did on this series, this does not come close.

I don't know that there is anything new to say in this franchise, but that doesn't usually stop companies from producing more work.

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