Before the Titan Books rerelease, I had never actually read the Dead Space comic. I did watch the motion comic version that released on Xbox Live leading up to the first game, but those were unfortunately censored. Now I finally get to see all the swearing where it was supposed to be in its explicit glory as I read what happened down on Aegis VII prior to the arrival of the Ishimura. It was written by Antony Johntson, who also wrote the Alex Rider books, and drawn by Ben Templesmith, artist of 30 Days of Night.
Ben Templesmith is one of my favorite comic artists. There’s just something about the somewhat warped, watercolor style he uses. It gives everything this messy, almost gross look that works for the horror comics he usually frequents. It fits the style of Dead Space so well, really lending this blend of disgustingly horrifying images with a certain offness that fits tonally with the insanity that the marker causes. I couldn’t think of a better artist to show the necromorphs in their terrifying glory.
As publishers often do for trades, Dead Space is filled with plenty of bonus material. As someone who has already experienced these comics and can easily watch them whenever I want, the only real draw of the hard copy is this extra material. This first volume has surprisingly detailed profiles for all of the important characters, a great amount of art and the comic version of Dead Space: Extraction. While those first two are pretty usual additions, not only was I not aware that they had created a comic version of Extraction, but it is just as good as the rest of the comic.
I do love the story of Dead Space, but it isn’t the greatest video game story ever told or anywhere close. At the very least, the comic holds true to the writing quality of the game, possibly even exceeding it at times, and manages to stay far away from the travesty that was Dead Space: Downfall, ugh. The issue with Downfall was, nothing really exciting happened. The comic does a good job of showing the psychological breakdown the marker causes in some and the fanatical worship it inspires in others. Though I would expect the writer for Dead Space to be able to keep his quality consistent when switching mediums.
With the inclusion of the short comic version of Extraction, the Dead Space comic completely removes the need to ever watch Downfall, though you may still want to play Extraction since it’s fun, but the comic really does give you everything you would want to know about what the hell Isaac stumbles across while looking for Nicole. It manages to fill in some backstory while raising even more intriguing questions to be expanded upon in the games.
Even after the novelty of all the tie-ins for the first Dead Space wore off, the quality of the comic still speaks for itself. If you’ve never read or seen it and are a fan of the series, I would definitely recommend picking it up. Beyond Dead Space fans, I don’t see it holding too much weight though. It works more as a tool to generate interest or fill in some details then a stand alone product. Even then, it is still a great comic and I enjoyed reading it again.