Mass Effect: Discovery #1
Writer: John Dombrow, Jeremy Barlow
Artist: Gabriel Guzmán
Colourist: Michael Atiyeh
Letterer: Michael Heisler
Editor: Dave Marshall
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
A review by Amelia Wellman
Tying into Mass Effect: Andromeda, Mass Effect: Discovery #1 has a young Turian military recruit go undercover in order to infiltrate the mysterious Andromeda Initiative and ultimately retrieve a scientist who’s made a potentially devastating discovery.
Mass Effect: Discovery #1 is a story with Turians, conspiracy, and some good old fashioned noir-esque shake-downs and intimidation. In a franchise that has always had saving the galaxy and all life within it as its end goal, having something smaller, and more confined (at least for the time being) is a smart change of pace. And having a non-human lead is something I wanted from Mass Effect through the whole original trilogy. Though let it be known I’m disappointed it’s a Turian and not a Quarian. Just saying.
Issue one spends most of its panels establishing our Turian, Sanjin Vinnick, as the main character. Another shadowy human organization has sprung up, this time building huge forces to head to the Andromeda Galaxy, and Vinnick is sent in as a spy to learn as much as possible about what they’re doing and why they’re doing it. Unsurprisingly, Mass Effect: Discovery #1 is a very dialogue driven comic book. It’s definitely on par to be just as wordy as an actual Mass Effect game and it does slow the narrative down a little, but since this is following a noir path in its narrative, all that exposition is needed to set up what’s going on in this universe.
The art of Mass Effect: Discovery #1 is pretty standard, which is hard to argue against when it gets the job done. There are a few moments of stylization that stand out, with smoke from a busted Geth or the crackling energy of biotics, but for the most part, the art plays it safe with muted colours and a lot of cross-hatching for a sort of grimy, rough texture throughout. Personally, I’m a fan that there are women in this comic that are absolutely just drawn as women. It’s so refreshing to have realistic body shapes (on the human women at least) with no pandering to the male gaze!
Though issue one didn’t feature any Asari, so we’ll see if this series doesn’t fall back into the male gaze before its end.
Wait and see. I’m interested in a Turian-led noir, mystery tale, but Mass Effect: Discovery #1 didn’t become completely that until three pages from the end. Those familiar with Mass Effect in general shouldn’t be too put off by the considerable amount of flat-out exposition, but it does mean the first issue of this limited series run starts off a little slower than expected. As of right now, wait and see what issue two brings. With the end of issue one, it looks to be headed in the perfect direction for a side story in the Mass Effect universe.
Mass Effect: Discovery #1 will be available on May 24th, 2017.