Many of the hardcore followers of the Mass Effect series realize that it has become bigger than a game, spanning three (soon to be four) novels and two different comic book arcs. Unlike many other video game tie-ins, the Mass Effect tie-ins take the extra step to focus on and broaden the core story, but not on the main characters. The comic series so far has featured important characters, Liara and the Illusive Man, while the novels have focused on David Anderson. These characters, while important, are not Shepard, and the game’s story is really that of Shepard. The books have been successful by staying away from the player’s decisions and instead showing that even as important as they are, the universe still goes on.
Mass Effect: Invasion stars another major player in the power games that exist in the Mass Effect universe; Aria t’Loak. She is a crime boss, the “head” of Omega, an asteroid in the Mass Effect universe where the main laws are survival of the fittest and don’t mess with Aria. She is one of lead writer Mac Walters’ favorite characters to write, and it is really cool to see just why Aria is so feared.
The comic’s art is great. Omar Francia has a style that fits the series. His strength is really in capturing the various emotions on each characters face. One of the stand out moments is during a clash between the Illusive Man and Aria, two Alpha characters with a history longer than the first issue would suggest. The other thing that Francia really nails is the power of Aria. There are already moments of action in the first comic as husks travel through the Omega relay and begin to attack Aria’s station.
On the writing front, the dialogue is straight out of what one would expect from a Mass Effect related tie in. This positively reflects Dark Horse’s choice to use the lead writer of the series as the lead writer of the comics. Aria’s personality is the same one we remember from the games, as is the Illusive Man’s. A new Cerberus commander is also introduced, and he really fits the universe well. He has shades of a renegade Shepard, but also definitely seems like a Cerberus loyalist.
While this is only the first issue, it is clear to see that Invasion is setting itself up to be another awesome chapter in the Mass Effect series. If this is any indication, Invasion seems like it could be even more action packed than Redemption or Evolution. The most negative thing I can say about it is that it really makes me want Mass Effect 3 now and not in March. There are also several questions raised by Invasion, and it is up to the next few issues to sort them out. I look forward to them, but as it stands, Mass Effect: Invasion’s first issue is definitely worth picking up.