Featured Columns

October 1, 2009

The Comics Console: Games Turned Comics! Dead Space & Halo!

Some quick news bits: Gamer Revolution has posted a preview of Sega’s Iron Man 2. The site says the game is more of a movie companion than a rehash of the film’s plot. Either way, hopefully it’s much better than the last game.

Batman Arkham Asylum publishers Eidos and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment are looking to further reward Playstation 3 owners with more exclusive content. Eidos and WBIE announced one more perk for those who picked up the PS3 edition of the game, in North America at least. The publishers said that the Prey in the Darkness Map Pack would be added to the Playstation Network in North America last week as part of Sony’s weekly Thursday update. The free add-on content will be available on both the PSN and Xbox Live in regions outside of North America.

The Prey in the Darkness add-on closely resembles the Insane Night Map Pack, which Eidos and WBIE released to both Xbox 360 and PS3 owners free of charge. As with that release, Prey in the Darkness includes two new maps: Heart of Darkness emphasizes toe-to-toe action at the Arkham Pumping Station, while Hothouse Prey focuses on stealthily subduing enemies at the Abandoned Glasshouse.

Sony Online Entertainment let loose a new screen featuring DC’s aristocratic asshole archer, Green Arrow, from the upcoming DC Universe Online. I’m not huge on MMO’s. I don’t even have a Playstation 3, but every time I see more shots from this game, the more I see me dropping hard cash for Sony’s hardware.

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The comic book/video game relationship has been pretty one sided for most of the affair. Comic book characters have appeared on game consoles with both poor and positive results, putting out some of the stinkiest software ever playable. However, every once in a while, we see video games bleed over into comic book panels, usually adding to its video game counter part’s narrative, also putting out some pretty terrible issues never readable. Though, that’s not so much the case this time around.

I love my Nintendo Wii. Really. I do. I just have one small, tiny, ity-bity, teencey-weencey problem with it. Most of the games for the system SUCK. And suck hard. Luckily, that’s not the case for EA’s Dead Space Extraction.

In 2008 Image Comics released a six issue mini, Dead Space, that was a prequel to the animated film Dead Space: Downfall, that was a prequel to the video game Dead Space for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The series was written by Antony Johnston with art by Ben Temlesmith. The plot revolved around Sergeant Abraham Neumann’s video log of the horrors that had taken place in one of humanity’s space colonies.

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This series acts as a prequel to Dead Space Extraction, as DSE takes place during the same time as Dead Space: Downfall.

Visceral Games proves that true magic can happen when you approach the Wii with software that fits the console’s strengths. Extraction captures the same great gory and horror experience as its 360/PS3 predecessor. The story aspect of the game was one of my favorite features. The characters are well developed and you actually grow attached to them as the game unravels.

If you played the original Dead Space then you’re familiar with the game’s dismemberment style of destruction, taking apart enemies limb-by-limb rather than just head shots. That system returns in Extraction and it keeps the action interesting and fun.

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Like other Wii shooters, Extraction is played on rails, and while it’s probably the best yet on the Wii, it serves as the game’s only drawback. Not to say that rail shooters aren’t good, because this game clearly is, but it leaves you with only a very short amount of time to collect important items like ammo, health, ect. You’ll most likely be leaving a lot of useful goodies where they lie.

Extraction does have a co-op option for playing through the game’s campaign, but this takes away from the game’s immersion.

Dead Space Extraction is a wonderfully gory game that will have you lost in its shadowy corridors, peeking around every corner investigating that strange growling noise all they way to the end. 4/5

Marvel was quick to capitalize off the mega popular Halo series with The Halo Graphic Novel. Catchy title, huh? Well, I guess as popular as Halo is The Halo Graphic Novel is ‘Nuff Said. Bungie’s intention for the graphic novel was to bring Halo into other forms of media outside of video games. The stories focused on mere glimpses into the Halo universe on certain back story elements not heavily featured in the game, like the operations and workings of the Covenant. The novel’s main attraction, however, was the amazing art by many different artists like Simon Bisley and Jean “Moebius” Giraud.

Next, Marvel approached Bungie about extending the Halo franchise into comics with Halo: Uprising by Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev. Because Brian Michael Bendis doesn’t already have enough books to write, right? The four issue mini ran from October 2007 to June 2009. Don’t you love it when it takes 20 months for 4 issues to publish? Regardless, Halo: Uprising was a smash hit.

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Peter David took over with a new five part mini, Halo: Hellijumper, with artist Eric Nguyen. The story takes place before the first game, Halo: Combat Evolved, and focuses on the Helljumpers or Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs). Halo: Spartan Black, by Fred Van Lente, with art by Francis Portela, is scheduled for a 2009 release.

But on the subject of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers, you may have heard of a little game that came out last week called Halo 3: ODST. And in traditional Bungie/Halo fashion, it’s really really good. If you like any of the other Halo games, hell, if you like first person shooters, then you gotta check this one out.

The campaign introduces you to your teammates as a rookie ODST right before dropping into New Mombasa. The biggest change in this game from previous Halo games is that you’re NOT Master Chief. Thus, not being a 1000 lbs. cyborg, you take much more damage. A barley noticeable element is that your perspective has been dropped down so everything looks bigger.

The city’s maintenance AI, known as the Superintendent, monitors your progress through the city and even provides some guidance by lighting up signs and streetlights when you are going in the right direction. It also slaps a way point down on your map in the general vicinity of ‘clue objects.’ Interacting with these objects triggers a flashback in which you’ll control one of your missing squad members. These missions take place over the six hours that The Rookie was unconscious, and are pitched firefights that end with cut scenes explaining the appropriate clue object. The idea is that you find the objects and piece together what happened. As you advance, the Superintendent starts to unlock additional blocks of the city, and after a couple flashbacks you are presented with a list of items to look for. Eventually the city opens up to be very large.

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The game’s only other play mode is co-op, but this almost takes away from the experience. Playing with a friend usually has you rushing through hot spots and getting from point A to B fairly quickly. This is a draw back in that rushing through each area is depriving yourself of the beautiful scenery and scale of the game’s world. ODST‘s campaign is shorter than Halo 3′s, but not by much. Stopping to look around and explore the story in single player mode can provide up to 10 hours of gameplay, while rushing through can cut that time in half.

ODST comes packaged as a two-disc set. The first disc being the campaign, the other being a copy of Halo 3′s multiplayer. The original eleven Halo 3 maps (Construct, Epitaph, Guardian, High Ground, Isolation, Last Resort, Narrows, Sandtrap, Snowbound, The Pit, Valhalla), the Heroic map pack (Foundry, Rat’s Nest, Standoff), the Legendary map pack (Avalanche, Blackout, Ghost Town), the Cold Storage map, and the Mythic map pack (Assembly, Orbital, and Sandbox) are all here, as well as three new maps (Citadel, Heretic, Longshore).

Some may argue that Halo 3: ODST is over priced for how little is offered in the box. If you’re not interested in the story, or if you’re looking for a new multiplayer experience, you’ll probably agree. Though if you’re a fan of the Halo series or first person shooters in general, you’ll find that Halo 3: ODST is easily one of the year’s finest shooters. 4/5

What video game series do you want to see as a comic book series? I think Tecmo’s Ninja Gaiden franchise could be expanded into some pretty cool comics. Konami’s Metal Gear Solid already has published comics based off previous games, but the MGS franchise, which relies so heavily on narrative in its games, could be expanded greatly through the comic book medium.

Check out The Comics Console next week when we profile The Man Without Fear A Good Video Game: Daredevil!

Andrew Hurst

andrewhurst@comicattack.net

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9 Comments


  1. InfiniteSpeech

    I”m not that big of a HALO fan but the ODST game comes with HALO 3 so if you don’t already own the game it’s a good buy. I’ve been contemplating Dead Space and I didn’t know there were books till this past Tuesday. And a Daredevil game? I didn’t know one was out? can’t wait for the next column!


  2. BladeMaster Dakk

    OMFG!!! …your articles are so cool. And god do i love me some Halo.. shamefully never read the graphic novel.. cuz i cant afford it and its always in plastic wrap when i go to Borders. heh. Ive heard Dead Space is balls to the wall scary.. sounds fun. AWESOME ARTICLE!!! BLAHAHAHHAHAHHHAHAHHHAHAH!!!! 😐


  3. Kristin

    It…doesn’t come with Halo 3. It comes with Halo 3 maps, and the online capabilities of Halo 3. It doesn’t come with the campaign.



  4. Haha. Yeah. Just the multiplayer. But adding the entire Halo 3 campaign would have been pretty ridiculous 😀



  5. so the guy at game stop is a total idiot then? or he was REALLY trying to get me to get the game lol


  6. Kristin

    Well, not entirely. It does have Halo 3’s multiplayer system on there. But it does NOT have Halo 3’s (single player) campaign story. So really…. ODST just let’s you play ODST and then go play regular online like you would with Halo 3. Which is a little…I don’t know…. Because if you’re playing ODST, you probably already have Halo 3. It does seem to come with some new maps, at least. Along with all the maps anyone who has been playing Halo 3 online already has…. :\



  7. Dude, I agree with Blademaster; your articles are f-ing fantastic!!

    Which first person would I like to see as a comic? Are you ready for this one: Dark Forces.

    Oh yeah.


  8. Gray

    Gotta’ tackle a few more Game-to-Comic titles in the future. Mercenaries, Resident Evil and the upcoming Modern Warfare 2: Ghost. Also don’t forget Prototype. Wildstorm just finished off that series I believe.


  9. Kristin

    Oh gracious, there’s tons of them lately. World of Warcraft, Mirror’s Edge, God of War…they all have comics, too.



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