Review – Mass Effect Redemption #1

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Story:
This series takes place between the events of the first and second Mass Effect games. Liara T’Soni has taken transport to the Omega Station in Terminus sector of deep space. She is looking for Commander Sheppard, a dear friend, and the hero of the first game. As she investigates the station for clues on his whereabouts (dead or alive) she encounters several parties interested in the search but not all interested in helping her.

Good:
The good news is the story is written by the lead writer for Mass Effect 2, Mac Walters. So the events should tie in well to the story of the second game. It also means that the atmosphere of the Omega Station and its many, many alien inhabitants will be correctly portrayed. I’ll get to more about them in a bit. The plot is the stuff of old school adventures: a rescue/prison-break and on that scale it works well.

Omar Francia, with his pedigree in Star Wars comics is a great choice for the sci-fi setting of the title. Everything from the ships to the outfits to the sidearms to the alien races themselves look great. He crafts a believable universe and more importantly one that jives will with the look of the game world. Any gamer that spent 40+ hours guiding Shepard and company through ME1 will instantly recognize the races and factions in this book. Which leads us to what’s not so great about Redemption.

Bad:
If you’ve never played, or even heard of, Mass Effect you can certainly pick up Redemption and have an enjoyable read. Especially if you love the sci-fi/space genre. However, you will have a steep learning curve for the ME universe. Alien races and cultures aside, it can be difficult to know what kind of powers these characters have. When Liara T’Soni brandishes her glowing hands and someone yells “She’s using Biotics!” it doesn’t mean much to a new reader (hint: in the scene in question it’s sort of a Force Push). Also you just have to assume that Commander Sheppard is important, knowing nothing about him. But, I suppose an extended introduction isn’t really in the cards for a single issue of a comic.

Verdict:
Redemption is fan service, but it’s good fan service, especially when compared to other titles based on video games. It is not required reading but anyone who loved the first game and plans on getting the second would certainly enjoy Redemption. You will probably miss not getting to pick which gun everyone gets to use though.

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