We're back in the world of videogame adaptations today. However this is a little different from the DOOM comic, which simply told the story of the game. This book is part of an interesting movement in tie-in comics to fill in gaps between games as well as provide further adventures of popular videogame characters or new characters placed into the same universe. This comic book collection bridges the gap between Gears of War and Gears of War 2, told from the perspective of a new character Jace Stratton, who would later be added into the game canon as a character in Gears of War 3.
Gears Of War is a third person shooter for the Xbox 360. A third person shooter means you can see your character on screen as he runs about shooting things. This game helped popularise both the use of cover as a game mechanic and the ability to play co-operatively with another player. I absolutely love the Gears series. I have finished all three games on the hardest difficulties, played them in co-op with myself (for the Achievements) as I refuse to have anything to do with the cesspool that is Xbox Live. I keep my cash in a Gears Of War wallet. I often wear a Gears Of War t-shirt and I have two action figures of the main characters of the first two games, which live on my bed side table. So a comic book series set in the same universe should be right up my street and to be fair, it's a pretty decent attempt at putting the intimate epicness of the Gears series onto the printed page. The arist of the main story is Liam Sharpe and the writer is Joshua Ortega.
|Gears and Locust|
The story begins with Jace (who narrates the story) reflecting on the background to the conflict. Turns out during the initial E-Day, he was orphaned. He battles Locust along with Marcus Fenix, who he hero-worships enough to be wearing indentically styled armour as him. Marcus chews him out for dropping his Lancer (an assault rifle with a chainsaw attached), then they clear the area. They find a gruff figure called Michael Barrick, the sole survivor of his squad and who has a nasty cough.
|Locust versus Marcus Fenix|
After stopping to investigate another area, they relax by a campfire and tell war stories. Back in the APC they hear a beacon. When they travel to its location it turns out to be a trap. One of the squad is badly wounded. Marcus and Michael take out the Locust and Jace tries to stop his comrade bleeding. But suddenly they hear the word "Boom" which means the heavy weapons Boomers are nearby and that they are in a lot of trouble.
Marcus acts as a moving target so Jace can get the wounded Gonzalez out of there. Between them Marcus, Dom and Michael deal with the Locust, but it's too late for Gonzalez who dies in Jace's arms.
Jace: "Part of me wished I could still do that. Cry or scream or something... But I just felt hollow. Numb. Gil was like a brother to me and I still didn't have any tears for him."
|Michael Barrick makes the Locust lose their heads|
Anyqway Marcus tells him to get lost, which he does when he realises who Marcus is. Jace visits the orphanage he was raised in, then when their leave is over, they move out. Michael is replacing Gonzalez in their four man squad. Unfortunately as they travel across the barren lands their helicpter is hit by Seeders, Locust anti-aircraft missles. The pilot is killed and it's up to Jace to land it.
|How the other half live...|
|Lily and Jace|
Jace survives the blast from the Brumak after he charges it. Marcus gets him into cover with Dom and Michael. Realising they don't have a hope, they try and lure it away from the vehicle that Lily is in. When things look bleak, the cavalry arrives.
|A Brumak. Aka, you are screwed.|
They split up into two teams of two. Marcus tries to find out more about Michael who turns out to be an ex-Stranded who lost his entire family. He also keeps hacking up bloody phlegm, suffering a new fatal disease known and "rust lung" that was triggered by the Light Mass bomb explosion.
Jace is trapped under a concrete beam, suffering flashbacks to E-Day. Dom manages to lift the beam off him, and thanks to his armour, Jace is not badly damaged. They both lost their Lancers in the collapse, but have other guns with them. Marcus and Michael are also both OK, although Michael is coughing badly now.
|Dom has a plan...|
|The crater where the city used to be.|
Jace: "Marcus Fenix was a hero, and heroes never die right? Unfortunately there was no rule like that for the rest of us."
Anya gets in contact with them saying and evac and med helicopters are on their way. Down in the crater, Jace is alive, but close to a huge, blind Locust called a Berserker. The helicopter arrives and flies down into the crater. Marcus hangs off a ladder and Jace manages to jump across to him, the Berserker missing him by inches.
|Jump Jace, Jump!|
Jace: "You realise that feeling is the key to everything. Being hollow is the danger... It's tough sometimes. Hell, it's tough most of the time. But feeling is what makes us human."
And that brings the main storyline to an end. The book has a short coda, which tells of how much Dom loved his wife and how they came to be seperated in a Locust attack and how he has never stopped looking for her. In the second game this leads to a tragic scene where he finally finds her, an emaciated figure, tortured so much she's become a vegetable and all he can do is end her suffering. Very sad stuff.
|A happy ending....?|