Chris (The Genre Fiend)'s Reviews > Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 1

Mass Effect by Mac Walters
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really liked it

This review is courtesy of an Advance Review Copy through the good folks at NetGalley.

While I'm not usually a reader of tie-in comics, preferring to read prose novels from existing properties instead, I did enjoy Foundation. It feels almost like an anthology title linked by the character of Rasa, and seeing favourite characters from the game turn up was good.

PROS:
The twist at the end of the book's first chapter is definitely unexpected, helped along by the breakneck pace the issue moves with. Each other chapter feels like a standalone instalment read either on its own or with the others, and each one is driven by the actions of an existing Mass Effect protagonist (Wrex, Ash and Kaidan, respectively) with Rasa and Kai Leng in the background. It's great seeing these characters fleshed out a bit more through background stuff we mightn't have seen in the game, and there's a strong sense of character development driving the plot of each story.

The artwork is also marvellous. The opening pages before the story proper (I presume they're the single-issue covers) look beautiful enough to be framed, and the illustrations of the narrative are full-lipped and riveting. I've always felt environs like the Citadel would be hard to do justice in a comic book since the visuals of it in the game are so dense (and rightly so), but Parker and Francia just knock it out. Great stuff.


CONS:
After the first issue concludes, the pace slows considerably. This isn't entirely a bad thing, but I think it's a little incongruous to stick a swift-moving opening onto a narrative that moves at less than a quarter of the beginning pace. It makes the transition to the main story a little clunky.

Dialogue is ok, but a little stock. There are moments when the characters' voices from the game can be heard in the scripting (Wrex especially) and it seems like Walters has tapped into the performances they gave, but other time it feels like words that almost any character could be speaking. Also, Rasa is something of a nothing protagonist; she's less the driving force of the narrative and more a thread linking everything. If that' the intent then it works, but I get the feeling we're also supposed to be focusing on the framing story of her activities within Cerberus. This is especially true since the first chapter is basically her origin story.

Finally, the book is way too damn short. This is a problem I had with "Mass Effect: Redemption" too, though that was a more self-contained narrative versus this story, which I presume will be going for a little longer. I'd probably wait for a larger trade or hardcover collecting more issues to read in one go, since it's over too quickly.


On the whole, it's still a damn good read and it's great to see more background info on characters we know and love. Very keen to see who Volume 2 follows next.
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Reading Progress

February 3, 2014 – Started Reading
February 3, 2014 – Shelved
February 4, 2014 – Finished Reading

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