Mass Effect, BioWare’s beyond-popular video game series, has come back to comic books with the new miniseries Mass Effect: Invasion. Taking place after the events of Mass Effect 2, Invasion centers around Aria T’Loak and the human survivalist group, Cerberus, as Aria’s space station has come under attack by unknown aliens. It’s a battle for Omega, with three sides all fighting against each other.
Well, first things first: I’ve yet to play Mass Effect. I know a little bit about it — mostly stuff I’ve read off the internet or from people who have played it — but it’s certainly on my list of games to try. Having not played the game really takes away from the comic. I really know I’m missing something here, and it’s above and beyond just not knowing who the characters are. What I would have liked to have seen is a comic that fans and non players of the game could both enjoy. Obviously Mass Effect fans are going to be the number one target audience for Invasion but for someone like me who has never played, you would think that maybe the comic could serve as a gateway to the game. That’s actually what I was hoping for, something to get me interested in the game which I could test the waters with so to speak.
There was very little noob friendliness to be found here. I didn’t feel any connection to the characters and that is a big loss of interest for me — if I can’t get a feel for anyone, then I have no reason to continue reading. I could appreciate the great sci-fi of the book; I just couldn’t get into the story and not just because I wasn’t really sure who was who. The whole thing was just a long, lackluster fanfic, and I ended up reading more off Wikipedia trying to understand what half this stuff was than in the comic itself. Like, take the great drama and eerieiness out of Alien and you’ll get a feel for where I’m coming from. If it wasn’t for the artwork I’d probably have ignored the comic completely, it’s a bit harsh to say but that’s the truth coming from me. I really did like the overall look of the comic, lines and color, the whole package. It really saved it for me.
Generally I stay away from comics based on other media, and Mass Effect: Invasion enforces my reasoning. For someone who is a fan of the games this might be really good, hell it could be great, but from an outsider’s view the comic doesn’t hold up to all the hype the game got. I’m still interested in playing the game but I’m going to leave the comic to others who might enjoy it more.
Karyn Pinter has been writing for Comics Bulletin since 2008. Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area and was one of those kids who was raised by TV, babysat by the likes of James Bond, Mary Poppins and Darth Vader. In college she spent her days critically analyzing Dorothy’s need to befriend a lion, scarecrow and man of tin and writing papers on how truth, justice and the American way ultimately lead to Superman’s death.
Karyn gladly accepts bribes in the form of carnitas burritos and/or Catwoman paraphernalia.