Thursday, 5 December 2013

Mass Effect: Foundation 1-4

Lowdown: Mass Effect revisited through the story of a thus far unfamiliar female Cerberus operative.
Mass Effect: Foundation is the fifth series of Mass Effect comics to be published (following on the footsteps of Redemption, Evolution, Invasion and Homeworlds). It promises to be 13 episodes long; this review concentrates on the first four, recently released as a digital bundle. The fifth episode is already out there but I prefer to read by the bundle.
The premises offer a nice, if unoriginal, way to revisit the good old Mass Effect universe. Episode 1 tells us of the making of a female Cerberus operative out of a slave girl working on asteroid mining. With that established, the following episodes move on to an older her, working with Kai Leng to do the Illusive Man’s bidding. On her way, our operative bumps into Urdnot Rex and Kaidan prior to them joining the Normandy’s crew, as well as revisit Ashley Williams’ adventures on Eden Prime prior to being rescued by Commander Shepard. In other words, Foundation seems to serve as a platform for telling the story of some of the lesser characters from the Mass Effect universe. Lesser by my reckoning; your mileage may vary, although the absence of these characters from the comics thus far does say something about the way they have been perceived.
Personally, I have found the stories less than impressive. They all deal with familiar aspects of the characters that the open eyed player should have already been aware of: Ashley’s complex with her ancestry, or Kaidan’s anger management issues. If the stories are less than impressive than the drawings are even lesser so, by far the worst I have seen from any Mass Effect comic thus far (and some of them have been pretty impressive!). Kaidan’s episode in particular qualifies as dreadful to this reader.
Overall: Look, I want to revisit the Mass Effect universe as often as possible. I would, however, prefer better quality offerings; we’ve had them before, there is no reason why we cannot have them again. I’m giving the first four episode of Foundation 2.5 crabs out of 5.

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