EVE: True Stories #2 (Comics Review)

I have a mantra: never turn down a free comic. This mantra is what made me get up and get Dark Horse’s latest tie-in series, EVE: True Stories. This 4-issue series is based on real events from the EVE Online game, events that have since proven to be one of the greatest examples of simultaneous and spontaneous mass-player interaction in video games, so it is no surprise that Dark Horse jumped on the chance to tell this story. It has all the hallmarks of a grand epic, and that was certainly the promise of it.

But reality is as reality is. The first issue was decent, but not bad. I had hopes for the second issue, but when I read it a few days ago, none of those hopes saw the light of day. And, I think, the likely culprit is the length of the story itself, just 4 issues. The first issue did well to introduce the characters and set up the playing field, sort of, but the second issue does nothing of the sort. It just launches in and then never lets go. Frankly, I was surprised and confused at every turn. It also didn’t help that the artist is different, and thus the style is completely different. What is happening here?

EVE - True Stories 02First of all, the cover. Like the previous issue, this cover doesn’t have anything to do with EVE Online that I can tell. It doesn’t have anything to do with the story in the issue either, which is even more damning. Two strikes already. Perhaps regular EVE Online players can tell me what I’m missing here since I’ve never played the game, but yeah, I don’t get the cover at all. Random female merc? Okay…

The story itself is very confusing. I understood only the broadstrokes, and never the finer points, and this bothered me. In many ways, this is not an approachable comic at all, the way that I think it should have been. There’s no proper build-up for the characters, no proper explanations of the events. Things just are. Characters just are. We take them at face value and that is that. And that’s not how these things work. I’ve read a fair amount of tie-in comics over the years, whether we talk about Warhammer 40,000 or Warhammer Fantasy, WarCraft or Forgotten Realms, and approachability has always been at the forefront of my mind when reading them. It is one of the first things that I look for. And I’m sorry to say but that factor is completely missing here.

Worst of all is that the narrative is so fractured and complicated, what with the story jumping between locations and characters, that the pacing is off too. Reason after reason can be had for why this is not a good tie-in comic, and it all comes down to the story.

I just don’t find the characters all that interesting. And there doesn’t appear to be any clear protagonist either, unless we count Haargoth Agamar who seems to be a driving force behind some of the events, but is kind of just floating around. Some of the threads from the previous issue are picked up here, but they don’t exactly go anywhere because the story is juggling so many different things right now, and none of it is making an impression on me.

On the art side, we have Alejandro Aragon instead of Tom Coker. And it looks like each issue is going to have a different artist, which is not a strategy I understand, because there isn’t going to be any stylistic continuity or consistency, if the differences between this issue and the previous issue are any indication. More than the first issue, this issue had very indistinct artwork, especially in the first few pages. Those pages felt as if they’d been run through a dirty filter or something. Maybe it was the colours, maybe it was just the pencils, but those pages were tough to follow, and with the story already not making any sense, it was all even more disappointing.

Even later on, these problems persisted. All the way through I searched for a reason why I should be sticking with this series and each time I came up empty. The only thing that the series has going for it is that the four issues are available for free.

Rating: 4/10

More EVE: True Stories: #1.

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Posted on March 23, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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