Haven't done a videogame tie-in for a while now, truthfully finding ones worth spending money on is getting harder, but if you ignore the franchise destroying game Dead Space 3, the Dead Space stories usually delivers for me. I covered the prequel comic to the first Dead Space game here, and this comic takes place immediately after the first game. For a quick reminder of the plot of the main series I'll just recycle a little from my intro to the last comic: Dead Space (the first game) saw you as a space engineer called Isaac Clarke, whose ship is damaged after it receives a distress call from the "Planet Cracker" mining ship the Ishimura. He is sent aboard to repair the Ishimura and get it moving again while both investigating the disappearence of the Ishimura's crew (and the colony on the planet below) and simultaneously fending off mutated, alien zombie creatures. It turns out those alien zombie creatures are the crew, resurrected and deformed by an alien artefact called "The Red Marker." This Marker is also the focus of a particularly zealous religion called Unitology who worship it as a means of bringing them together in peaceful coexistence, while it actually causes madness and death to those close by, and finally brings those dead back to life as homicidal "necromorphs". This graphic novel like the previous trade has an interesting art style this time making use of heavily painted, photographic likenesses and floating text rather than speech bubbles. It takes a little getting used to but helps conjure up a horrific and tense atmosphere as the team of illegal miners and scavengers called "The Magpies" and the military team sent by the Earth government race to be the first to claim the Ishimura and the Marker that they believe to still be inside it.
It starts with a nightmare. Captain Benedict Malyech of the Magpie ship "Black Beak" is dreaming of monsters. He is woken by his second-in-command Julia Copland who informs him they have found some asteroids with valuable mineral desposits in them. On the Magpie ship "Hunter's Moon", Captain Jessica Li is informed of the discovery by Malyech who says he'll inform the other two ships, "The Sunset" captained by Gatura Okeke and "The Liberte" captained by Bellevin.
|Li and Schneider.|
Just outside the asteroid belt is a government blockade, incoming is a ship containing Defence Secretary David Chang, he is informed that the Ishimura still hasn't been located, there is "particle inteference" and as the system has been off-limits for two hundred years they have no long range scans. Chang says he has no classified scans either and the listening post went dark weeks before. The man he is talking to says maybe the Ishimura has been destroyed.
Chang: "Don't even think it. The Marker was on that ship and if I leave without it it, some teenage punk will have his feet under my desk before I even reach earth orbit."
|The Magpies at work.|
Schneider: "Hopefully enough to rip CEC a new asshole. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys."
They then get to mining, activating the shock-ring and sending out an energy pulse. While they work, they chat. Bellevin says the government and CEC is full of Unitologists, so "maybe Okeke and Malyech could give them the secret handshake to let us all through the barricade." One of them retorts that the church isn't like that, then Li tells them all to shut up. "I'm already sick of your voices" she says testily.
On board the government ship, Chang is greeted by a mysterious scar-faced individual known only as an "Oracle". The Oracle says he is permitted to intefere in military and civilian operations when they involve their priorities of "retrieval and secrecy. Especially secrecy".
While the miners mine, they banter with each other. Schneider hacks the comms to display a text message on everyones screen that says "Okeke + Malyech 4 Eva". Then some strange inteference starts showing up, they activate the shock-ring again but a huge energy backblast hits it and Bellevin's ship sending it careering off towards the blockade.
|The Ishimura appears.|
Li tells Malyech to do a flyby of the outside, while she, Schneider and Okeke go and look inside. They scan the ship and see it is badly damaged with quarantine in place all over it. Malyech tells them the hull is "shot to crap" and it's only good for salvage now. Copland says they should ransom it to the CEC or Earth government. Malyech says that wouldn't be a good idea as most of them are criminals with open warrants, they'd just be thrown in jail. Then he spots some odd spikes sticking out of the hull.
|The mysterious spikes are spotted.|
Schneider: "There's been cases before. Bad shock-points that smear the crew all over the walls... did we kill the planet-cracker's crew?"
Li says of course not, the ship hasn't supported a crew in a very long time. They start making for the bridge, repairing malfunctioning doors as they go.
Malyech suits up and floats out of the ship to investigate the spikes. He realises it might have something to do with his religion then he has a vision of him kneeling by the Marker and being consumed and transformed by it. His crew reel him back in and take samples of the spikes.
|Malyech hallucinates the Marker.|
Li asks Okeke if he thinks the ship can be repaired, or is it scrap? Okeke says "scrap" but either way it's worth a fortune to them. They should break it down into parts while they wait for the blockade to lift, then hire another Nest and transport the bits away in secret. Schneider wonders if the Ishimura is why there is a blockade and has a bad feeling about all this. Li says she's not going to lose a big payday because "you're freaked out."
They go to the bridge where they'll meet up with Malyech and his crew. On the bridge they discuss what they know. Something mysterious is happening on the planet nearby, the Ishimura and the CEC performed an illegal planet-crack, the logs are gone due to the system failures on board. Li wonders how this ended up killing the crew. Then Malyech appears and shows them the spikes, Okeke immediately recognises them.
Malyech: "You're looking at pieces of a holy artifact... shards from a Marker!"
He says the goverment must be there to shut the system down and cover up the existence of the Marker like they did two hundred years ago. Li says they can ransom these to the Unitologists for big money. Angrily Malyech slaps her, shouting "Heathen!"
|Dissension in the ranks.|
Up on the bridge, Schneider has managed to extract some of what's left of the ship's records and discovered that they pulled an entire Marker off the planet. Okeke asks if it is still aboard and Schneider says "far as I can tell - yeah." Okeke says they can't let the government get their hands on it. Then they are alerted to the fact Copland has stolen some of the Marker fragments and is heading towards the blockade, "the bitch is going to sell us out!"
Li says they have to repair the ship so they can get a Nest to move the Marker with. She sends Okeke and his crew to engineering to try and repair the shock-point and leaves Schneider and the others on the bridge checking for government ships. She is going to go and see if Malyech has come to his senses.
|Copland meets the Oracles.|
Chang sends a small military crew to board the Ishimura and arrest the Magpies. The Oracle finishes speaking with Copland. He says she did the right thing coming to him. She asks if "I get a reward or something?" The Oracle's ring glows and she slumps forwards dead in a pool of blood, "..or something" he says dispassionately.
Inside Malyech's mind he is speaking to "Bellevin" (one of the hallmarks of being affected by the Marker is seeing and hearing dead people). Malyech says he needs "something to make him whole." "Bellevin" responds, "you already have it." And Malyech transforms into a necromorph. Up on the bridge Venschiff suddenly attacks the others in a fit of paranoia and Schneider has to knock him out.
Li keeps hearing something moving near her but can't see what it is. She says they probably have about an hour before the government get there, so if they can't repair before then, they should make themselves scarce. Then the being that was Malyech spears her through the chest with his long knife like appendages, as Schneider desperately calls her name over the comm-link.
The others decide to go and find her. They open the bridge door and are faced with shreiking knife-tentacled death. All but Schneider is killed by the necromorphs as he manges to fend them off him for now. He calls Okeke and tells him to take his crew and evacuate, but the necromorphs kill them as well, only Schneider is left out of all the Magpies.
|Schneider is all that's left.|
The Oracles realise Schneider spoofed his transmission and is actually on the bridge. They decide not to inform the military of this, their deaths will buy them time to reach the bridge themselves. The soldiers disembark and scan for the Marker. When they realise it and no one is there, they are attacked by a huge number of necromorphs.
|The military are surprised by the necromorphs.|
They arrive on the bridge and can't find him, but they find more of the Marker fragments that pretty much tell them the Marker had been destroyed. They change their priorities to finding Schneider to prevent him going public with what he knows. Schneider has escaped the bridge quarantine by putting on an mining exo-suit and going outside the ship.
However necromorphs can survive a vacuum, and the Oracles are in hot pursuit. Suddenly a huge necromorph rises up in front of him, but the Oracles gun it down. "Guess they want me alive for now" thinks Schneider and he uses a hatch to go back inside the ship and heads for the shuttlebay. Unfortunately the Oracles know the layout better than him and cut him off and they confront each other.
|Schneider and the Oracles meet.|
Oracle: "We need to know what you know. What you saw."
Schneider: "You could have just asked".
Oracle: "You don't possess the language to tell us."
Schneider says the monsters are part of it, it makes people crazy and turns them into space zombies. The Oracle says the monsters are an unimportant side effect. The other one says the knowledge Schneider has now, "is worth a fortune".
Schneider tries to barter the Marker fragments for his freedom when his radiation monitor pipes up about the increased rad-count and reveals his bluff. He darts through a hatchway and shuts it on the outstretched arm of one of the Oracles severing it. The necromorphs close in on the Oracles, "too many. We are screwed" one of them says.
|Serves you right Oracles!|
He hails the blockade and David Chang is put through to him. He gives him the co-ordinates to the Ishimura, "as far as I am concerned you are welcome to it." Chang demands he stop and await an escort, but Schneider says no one has authority over him. The stealth ship is "pretty cool" and has a small shock-point engine. He wishes Chang luck with the Ishimura, "you'll need it" and he blasts away at uncatchable speed. The end.
|Schneider escapes in the stolen ship.|