Splinter Cell is a boring franchise. It was created to be the American answer to Metal Gear Solid and well… it isn’t. Nathan Edmondson writes this debut issue of “Echoes” and as someone that’s followed his entire body of comic work I can tell you that this isn’t his best. Edmondson knows espionage and military protocol and things like The Activity show that he can write interesting stories based in reality. Him and Splinter Cell should go together like PB&J, but instead it’s like a boring cheese sandwich on Wonder Bread with the crust cut off. That leaves me to believe that it’s the character of Sam Fisher that’s boring and the world that’s been created around him. Sure it’s realistic, sure there’s a lot of sneaking around and cool kills, but at the end of the day I just don’t care what happens to the character no matter what they put him through in the games. Why is that? Because he’s boring. They call him the best all the time in the video games and in this issue as well, but he doesn’t do anything cool. He’s no Jack Bauer, Snake Plissken, Solid Snake or even Jason Bourne. There’s no cool factor.
The flip side of that is that he should be relatable because he’s so average, but that doesn’t happen either. He’s like a midgrade guy that has cool goggles that don’t even have a practical function. If he’s not going to be the ultimate badass he should be painfully average so we can follow him and root for him as the underdog. The problem is that that doesn’t work with this type of story. So he’s just boring. No one cheers for you when you got to the store and bring home the correct product and that pretty much sums up everything that’s ever been done with Sam’s character.
This issue, Sam’s retired again. He’s pulled in for a military contract for a friend. His daughter doesn’t want him to go, but he’s bored so he takes the job. The men he’s in charge of get lite up instantly because there’s some secret “Cobra” esque force working in secret to take over the world or something. They’re using blackmail which is pretty stock standard and of course now Sam has a target painted on his back when he cleans house solo and gets the job done.
The art is serviceable, but much like the story boring. It doesn’t mesh well with Edmondson’s style which makes me question who picked the artist. It was likely Dynamite, but they really should have asked Edmondson for suggestions. The right artist might have saved this book, might being the key word.
I’ve played practically all of the Splinter Cell games and the one two back wasn’t half bad, but I never play for the story. The story is shit and it continues to be shit here. What’s worse is that they’re holding it to the standard of other Tom Clancy franchises when this one wasn’t created by Clancy, but rather the writer of the original game. Why it’s still being held to that standard and now just being allowed to run on its own is beyond me. It might do it some good to become its own franchise, especially when it’s viewed that way by everyone else.
Writer: Nathan Edmondson Artist: Marc Laming Publisher: Dynamite Entertainment Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/2/14 Format: Mini-Series, Print/Digital