Dead Space: Extraction (2009)
By: The Doom Button on September 18, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Cover Art
Cover Art
Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Antony Johnson
Art: Ben Templesmith
I know there are a lot of people out there that really, really dig the Dead Space "series". There's the first comic series, the animated movie and the original game itself, and there's the much anticipated Wii game on the way, and now there's this. I have a feeling that the only reason it's called "Extraction" (also the name of the upcoming Wii game) is to cash in on the game itself, because if this is and adaptation of the game, it's going to be an amazingly brief and boring game.

Video game tie-ins are a tricky thing with comics. You can either spin out entirely and do something creative with the brand, telling your own story that will (hopefully) hook both new fans and the built-in ones, or you can have one that ties directly in to some minor (but at the same time key) element of the game, that will really please the built-in fanbase, but runs the risk of alienating new ones. Unfortunately, Dead Space: Extraction is the latter, but even then it's not really something that's going to please all the built-in fans.

Dead Space: Extraction basically gives us the final days of Nicole Brennan, the partner of Dead Space's protagonist Isaac, really, really quickly. Really quickly. There are a few nods to the game, some little bridging bits and pieces here and there, same for the previous comic series, but ultimately it's just a hollow shell with a few references floating around inside. There's no substantial narrative to speak of and the characters are so empty that you couldn't give two shits about any of them. There's no real drama either, especially if you've played the game, because you know exactly how the book is going to go. One almost expects some sort of deviation, just to mix things up so the reader is given something new, but nothing ever comes. By the end of it, I was like "is that it?"

There's nothing wrong with the creative team behind the book here either, writer Antony Johnson's Wasteland is fantastic, he wrote the original Dead Space mini-series for Image and his work on the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Fearbook at Avatar was one of the best entries into the series Avatar put out there, so as a writer (and a horror writer) he's great, and Templesmith (30 Days of Night, Wormwood: Gentleman Corpse, Silent Hill) is one of the most consistently pleasing artists to come around in a long time. The unfortunate thing is that this book fails to utilize them properly. I have a feeling that Johnson was given a brief and basically told what to write, but it just comes off like a bit of a handjob for the fans that doesn't deliver. There are moments where you can see the potential, but then it drops the ball and moves on to something else. There's also so little for Templesmith to do anything cool with. Just a lot of people talking in the dark and the monsters only appear for a few panels before being shoved off again for more broody waiting(-to-die).

I realise this is a pretty short review, but I've said pretty much all there is to it. If it were a four parter and went in to things a little more it'd probably be worth a look into, for both new fans and the followers, but as it stands, this book is pretty nothingy and for $3.50 American (close to $7 Aussie) it's a bit of a rip. The only people who are going to really get anything from it are the hardcore Dead Space fans (are there any yet?). The biggest problem with this book is that two very talented people were seriously underused. It's not that either of them are bad, they just had nothing exciting to do with this.
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