Mass Effect: Discovery #1 ComicWow! Review

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Mass Effect is a science fiction action role playing third person shooter video game series. The original trilogy centered on Commander Shepard, whose mission was to save the galaxy from Reapers, a race of mechanical beings. The fourth installment takes place in the Andromeda Galaxy, and features new characters. The games have had a lot of commercial success, as the series is looked up to for its narrative, universe, character development, and player choice affecting the gaming experience.

Based on the hit video game franchise, Dark Horse presents Mass Effect: Discovery! The story takes place on an alien planet, Palaven. Kandros, the planet’s prince, goes on a mission to infiltrate the Andromeda Initiative. He gets an interview with the corporation, but first he has to find a missing scientist to get their trust. So, Kandros and his partner are off to find the missing person! But they’re not the only ones after the scientist…

The first thing to mention that makes this issue worth the read is the fact that you don’t have to have played the video games to understand the storyline here. You don’t need any background information to comprehend what’s going on at any given moment. The story is straightforward, presents a hero and his motives, and the characters are sympathetic.

We’re used to seeing things from the humans’ perspective, but Barlow decided to give us the alien’s point of view for once. This is a refreshing treat, and makes for a really interesting story. Our protagonist is clever and intelligent, and his actions speak to that.

There’s quite a bit of exposition, but Barlow does an awesome job of making it all interesting and paced perfectly with natural and smooth dialogue. The writing pushes the story forward and keeps things interesting enough that we have incentive to keep turning pages. Creating a new world isn’t easy, but Barlow does it flawlessly.

Artist Gabriel Guzman does a great job of illustrating this issue, too. The line work is clean and solid, with realistic details to account for facial expressions, wrinkles in clothing, etc. Michael Atiyeh’s colors help a lot to reinforce the sci-fi genre, with surreal lighting and striking silhouettes. There is a lot of heavy shadowing to account for the tone of the issue, and it blends the detective and sci-fi genres seamlessly.

Science fiction fans, this is definitely a series for you. If you’re a fan of the Mass Effect video games, you’re not going to want to miss this one. But if you’re looking for content relating to the gameplay itself, that’s not the case. This is a story that will appeal to a wide array of readers, since you don’t need to know much in order to get enthralled by the plot. So, whether you’re a longtime fan of Mass Effect or a brand new one, this issue will prove to be a great read!

Written by: John Dombrow & Jeremy Barlow

Illustrated by: Gabriel Guzman