Dark Souls #1

7.5 Overall Score
Art: 8/10
Dialogue: 7/10
Story: 7/10

The popular video game in comic format.

Doesn't offer much unless you're already a fan.

Dark Souls #1
Writer: George Mann
Artist: Alan Quah
Titan Comics
2016

Welcome to the world of Dark Souls; a landscape bathed in arcane fantasy, where primordial forces govern the tides of time, bonfires flicker in the darkness, and the undead stalk the earth in search of impossible redemption. From Titan Comics and Doctor Who scribe, George Mann, comes this original tale of adventure and visceral horror that throws readers deep into the twisted myth of Namco-Bandai’s award-winning video-game franchise.

As a comic, Dark Souls is a pretty but too-linear tale of a knight in shining armor trying to save the realm from a dread curse. She and her companion roam from fight to fight, collecting artifacts that will break the curse and set things right, and that’s it. We don’t know much about either character, why they’re doing this, or why we care.

What little story there is is terribly straight forward. The characters need something, they walk to it, kill the guy who has it, and move on to the next goal. That may be fine for a video game, but it falls completely flat in a comic. Not only is it difficult to care about characters we barely know, it becomes difficult to care about the world we don’t know too. You’re going to break the curse and return light to the world? Well, every one else is dead and we don’t really like you, so what do we care? A particular difficult problem arises when the first major villian is more relatable and likable than the main characters. At least we get to know a little about him!

While the art may be the main attraction, that doesn’t mean it’s perfect by any means. The characters may look good, but backgrounds are a jumbled mess of rocky detail that could be anywhere. Everything around the characters look the same, leaving them to float in a detailed but featureless world. This creates a real problem with the substance of the comic, as it makes what action there is hard to grasp. It may look like someone moved, but where they are now looks just like where they were, so did they? It also creates problems when characters are fighting in a cramped tunnel in one panel, and in the next a stalagtite is plummeting from greater heights than were possible a moment ago. It looks pretty, but it doesn’t work.

This whole thing feels a lot like a game-to-movie translation. Someone decided taking the bare bones of a game and basing a comic on it would sell well, with little regard to how well it would translate. This is fine for fans of the game. You’ll get to see familiar themes, and maybe familiar places, and you’ll get awesome covers to show off. But it doesn’t really do much for the uninitiated. A world you have no reason to care about is in peril, and only someone you don’t know can save it. There’s not much keeping me turning the pages at all.

 

 

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Author: Brian Reed View all posts by

“Brian has been a nerd, gamer, and comic book geek since the NES was
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