Licensed video game comics tend to be of pretty poor quality, usually generic merchandise rather than a genuine attempt to tell stories. Dark Horse's “Mass Effect” licensed comics are an exception to that trend, featuring scripts by writers of the exceptionally well written video game series and telling stories that help round out those from the game. In Issue #4 we get a small peek into the history of Kaiden Alenko, the human biotic soldier that fought against the Reapers with Shepard and company. The issue deals with Kaiden's brutal education at the biotic training facility at Gagarin Station, sharing isolation with his friend Rahn and trying to survive their cruel instructor Vyrnnus. The issue is pretty well written, requiring a bit of context from playing the game but interesting for fans. Kaiden isn't exactly a fan favorite character, but his bit of back story is decently compelling and emotionally involving.
The art is serviceable, awkward in a few places but generally okay with a few attractive panels. While a bit less abstract than his style the art occasionally reminded me of Igor Kordey, never one of my favorites to begin with.
The issue makes me want to catch up with the series, as I've been out of the loop since 'Mass Effect: Invasion'. It's a likeable addition to the canon and hopefully a sign of a long and prosperous relationship between Dark Horse and Bioware's stellar franchise.
Writer: Mac Walters Artist: Tony Parker Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/23/13