Following up on the entertaining first issue of the newest comic arc in the Mass Effect universe,Dark Horse’s Mass Effect: Invasion really begins to show its colors and re-establish why Cerberus is going to be a threat again, but also it begins to already hint at some of the probable consequences for Mass Effect 3. This issue again features Aria T’Loak as she is roped into working with Cerberus to defeat a wave of the reaper onslaught. At first, she definitely seems to have a handle on things, but as this is a Mass Effect story, things are never quite that easy.
The first issue of Invasion was good, to be sure, but the second issue really steps up the pace. A lot happens in the 22 pages, though I will not spoil the actuality of what occurs. What I will say is that, much more than in Evolution, the last comic arc from Mass Effect, the Illusive Man was never quite characterized quite like Aria is being. Part of that is due to the past and present nature of each story. In Evolution, the Illusive Man already disliked aliens, and we knew what he became. We got a few nice surprises, but overall, it grew him as a character, but not much past his backstory. Here, we get to see what Aria is actually made of.
Some of this might be more because we haven’t seen nearly as much of Aria as we have of the Illusive Man. There was less to develop in Evolution because he was already an established character. We knew his personality as well as what he was made of. With Aria, we actually know very little, save that she is badass and controls Omega to the point where people hesitate to take her on. When you meet her in Mass Effect 2, she seems to be a bit cocky and selfish, knowing she is in full control over Omega, at least to the extent that anyone can control a mostly anarchist, criminal moon.
However, Issue 2 of Invasion actually begins to set some interesting tones. Aria is further explored, showing that she might have a softer heart for one so quick to kick ass. Writer Mac Walters really seems to have a grasp of her as he gives her some very interesting lines of dialogue, hinting that she might even be somewhat sentimental for her charge of ruling Omega. Of course, this doesn’t stop her from decimating some Reaper Husks, but it still shows an interesting side of a formerly mostly-flat character.
The new character, General Petrovsky, a Cerberus commander, actually proves himself to be another interesting character. While his motives are a bit obscured right now with all the chaos going on, and we have only known him for two issues now, his motivations seem more on par with someone like Commander Shepard than the Illusive Man. He seems like a tactician more than a zealot, but he still follows his orders unquestioningly, which might actually lead to some interesting dynamics between Aria and him later on in the series.
The art this time around is just as good as it was last time, perhaps moreso, as the action scenes seem a bit clearer. The space battle is particularly cool. Each character looks appropriate, and their expressions seem to really convey what each character is thinking. There are also some nice touches from the script, such as General Petrovsky helping Aria up after an explosion and such.
Overall, this issue was better than the first one, and the ending really leaves me curious as to where it is going to go. The ending in particular has some very interesting rammifications for not only the comic series, but also for the games. If you’re a Mass Effect fan, there really is no reason to pick up these comics. Especially as they really seem to be setting up something big for the next game, maybe even bigger than what Mass Effect: Redemption set up. Hopefully it can stay the course and remain not only as exciting, but also as intriguing in the next few issues.