And so we come to the final comic in the Dead Space videogame exapnded universe and thanks to the failure of Dead Space 3 it's unlikely we'll be getting any more in the future. This one takes place between Dead Space 2 and 3 and gives us background on Carver, the co-op character from Dead Space 3. Now if you've read my previous looks at the Dead Space comics you might be expecting another moan about Dead Space 3 and how much it sucked. But no, I changed my mind. Didn't expect that did you? My mistake was to treat it as a horror game, when really it's much more of an action game. Readjust your expectations and it's actually pretty good, despite the last piece of DLC torching the franchise and rendering all of Isaac's struggles for naught. And if you're wondering what the hell I am talking about well here's what the Dead Space franchise is all about: 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".
The first Dead Space comic was a prequel, Dead Space Salvage was set just afterwards. Dead Space 2 (game) saw a "Black Marker" induced outbreak on a huge city complex on Titan called The Sprawl, and Dead Space 3 (game) saw an investigation into the real motivation of the markers which was to create and bring enough necromorphs together to form "Brethren Moons" which then begin attack Earth in the final moments of the Dead Space 3 post-game DLC to the horror of Isaac and Carver who thought they had saved the day at the end of the main game. Phew, that's a lot of backstory for a series of games about space zombies, I've had to summarise a story in a couple of paragraphs that takes place across four games themselves, three comicbooks, two anime films and a novel of dubious qua-li-tee. So lets enjoy our final visit to the franchise with this story, by the same team behind Dead Space Salvage, writer Ian Edginton and artist Christopher Shy.
Damara urgently calls him back and tells him to grab their son Dylan and get down to the blast shelters. Then someone fires on the Marker, exposing it. An EMP pulse follows. Carver desperately tries to call into Central but gets nothing. Then a ship that was in low orbit falls from the sky, the EMP pulse having taken them out.
Carver starts making his way to the Marker to find Damara and Dylan. Necromorphs have started to be born and he has to fight his way through. He makes it inside and says to himself:
Carver: "God.. if you're watching over this hell... I never asked you for anything in my life... I'm begging you now.. let them be safe."
He hears some people ahead and stops to listen. They are Danik, a high ranking Unitologist and his minions. They sabotaged the Marker, but the crashing spaceship wasn't in their plans. Then over Carver's commlink comes someone slurring, "Jjjohn..." and the Unitologists here that and capture Carver.
|Captured by Unitologists.|
He arrives at their quarters and sees Damara standing with his back to him, she turns and reveals she now a necromorph, as it their son Dylan. A distraught Carver has to shoot them both. He then puts his gun under his chin to commit suicide so he can be with them when a call comes over the commlink for Damara.
|Carver's distress at killing his family.|
Ellie: "She discovered that Marker tampering went way back, past Earth-Gov to the old Sovereign Colonies Administration."
Danik and his people are here to find the data she accumulated. Her ship was in high orbit so escaped the EMP, they land and pick Carver up. But unbeknowst to them, the Unitologists are monitoring their communications and are lying in wait.
Ellie reaches the rendevous point but Carver isn't there. He tells her he thought they might be listening in so used her as bait. He sees them on her flank and snipes them with a sniper rifle. He's attacked by necromorphs but fights them off and the ship the Eudora collects him and Ellie safely.
Ellie then plugs in the data stick saying maybe it's better if Carver heard it in her own words. Damara appears on screen saying is anyone is hearing this she is most likely dead and the information must not fall into Unitologist hands. She found evidence that pre-Earth Gov a master signal that controlled all Markers was found.
The Soveriegn government built three markers to triangulate the parent signal, then soon after purged all data from their systems about it, but she was able to repair some of it. She found the location of the triangulation station "the Ptolemy Array" which is in the files. She admits it's been hard keeping this secret from John, "if he knew the danger, he'd try to stop me." But she has to do this, for their child, for all children.
Ellie says if John wants to honour her memory and avenge her, he should join up with them. He agrees and they fly to the location of the Ptolemy Array. They find it derelict with no life-signs and they board it. Ellie manages to reboot the two-hundred year old system, John thanks her but Ellie says it was Damara who came up with the "restart protocols."
|The Ptolemy array.|
As the ship travels to its next destination Ellie tells Norton that she has checked the data and big chunks of it are in "Marker language".
Ellie: "Without a primer we can't read them. Robert, we need this information. It's the largest target cache. We - "
Norton: "I know where this is going. Save your breath. The answer's no."
The only person who can read Marker language is Isaac Clarke, Ellie's old boyfriend. Norton says the Unitologist will be watching "that lunatic's" every move. Ellie says Norton needs to get over himself.
Snippily Norton tells her to check on Carver, "that's what your into right? Screwed up basket cases?" He says now they have the files they don't need Carver, he has plenty of soldiers on the ship. Ellie calls him an "asshole" and goes to find Carver.
Carver: "I got angry, bitter for not giving them the life they deserved. For having my boy grow up on a bleak barracks world. For watching Damara side-line her career. Most of all I was angry at myself for letting it happen. I'll never see them again. Never be able to tell them I am sorry."
Ellie comforts him as he says he'll finish what she started, it's the only thing he can do for her.
They arrive at Keyhole Station, but no one is responding to their hails. They decide on a low impact incursion to see what's going on in there. Inside, it turns out the place is overrun with necromorphs. There is a mass attack, confusion and Carver sets off a grenade to take them out.
|More necromorphs on Keyhole station,|
Then the Eudora calls in, it is under attack from an unidentified vessel. Then a shot misses them and hits the station. The resulting explosion seperates Norton and Carver from Ellie. She and a woman called Jennifer Santos fight off the necromorphs. She tells Norton she'll make her way to the command room and they can meet there.
|Dare to be badass Carver.|
As Carver and Norton move through the station, Ellie calls them and says they are trapped on the hanger deck. If Norton and Carver can get to the control deck they can activate the shock gate and she can take a sub-light flyer through it to the destination co-ordinates. Norton and Carver are faced with another huge necromorph on the way to the control deck. They blast it to bits and continue on their way.
They make it to Command and Control Ellie and the others with her are in the flyer. She has a shock beacon, when they get to Tau Voluntis (where the third game is set) she'll activate it and they can follow in the Eudora. She tells Norton, "you're still an ass. But I love you anyway."
On the Unitologist ship they detect the shockpoint generators cycling up. Danik says it's the "light and the way, the key to what lies beyond".
Danik: "Such a priviledge belongs to the faithful not these heretic filth. Shoot down any ship that departs for the gate."
He's then told the station's weapons grid has just gone live and is targeting them. All weapons fire on the Unitologist's ship.
Ellie's ship is finally prepped and after she admits to Norton that she is scared it shocks through the gateway. The crippled Unitologist ship tries to follow, and Carver and Norton start shutting the gateway down. They can't shut it down in time so blow the gate up instead.
|Ellie departs for Tau Volantis.|
Norton says denying the Unitologists his wife's data was a victory or Uxor wouldn't have been the only world to fall. "Hundreds died to save millions" he says. However without Damara they can't translate the Marker language, Carver asks if there is anyone else? And Norton reluctantly says yes, a man called "Isaac Clarke". And with that the story ends.
|Isaac Clarke and a looming Marker.|