Written by Anthony Johnston.
Art by Ben Templesmith.
Published by Titan Books
Dead Space has been one of the most pleasantly surprising new IP that the current generation of consoles has yielded. That sentence is pretty funny considering just how much the first game freaked the pants off me when I played it a few years ago. In the run up to the game’s release there were motion comic versions of this series available on PSN and LIVE. I remember them being a great way of keeping interest in the game while also fleshing out the world of this new property.
Now with the 3rd game being released Titan Books are re-releasing the graphic novels and a newer one. The first 2 written by Anthony Johnston, the 3rd by Ian Edgington and the newer 2 illustrated by Christopher Shy.
The prologue to the first game holds up pretty well indeed. It sets things up and doesn’t interfere with the game’s storyline. Johnston’s script is pacey and always informative without being too dense. The story lead’s up to the animated film Dead Space: Downfall. Which in turn links into the game.
Ben Templesmith’s artwork, which I have to admit I had my doubts as to how he’d work doing science fiction art. Something which was allayed after looking at his very impressive art, due to the gory nature and plentiful array of creatures. Templesmith is right at home doing this kind of story.
The basic plot is that the planet the “planet cracker” Ishimura is scheduled to crack. Has an artefact known to a religious sect as a “marker” The first one discovered years before but quickly hidden by the ruling government of earth. On discovering the artefact the colony’s inhabitants start to experience hallucinations and in some cases suicide or murder. Then when the bodies are piled up enough something more terrifying rises from the corpses.
EA defied expectation when they greenlit this series as they weren’t really know at the time for creating new franchises and with this and Mirror’s Edge the possibly created 2 of the most fresh and impressive new IP’s of the PS3 and Xbox 360’s lifespan. Even more impressive is that they released 2 animated films to support the first 2 games in the Dead Space series. Sadly the films were only average in quality but thankfully the graphic novels are of a very high standard.
You don’t need to read the novel to enjoy and be scared witless by Dead Space: the game but if you do, you will be seeing a more fleshed out universe of one of the best games released. A rich and deep universe, world building by people that were passionate about creating an immersive and scary world. They succeeded with some mixed results but in terms of the game and comics, they should be proud.