Here is how much I love space: When I die, I want my casket to be launched into the sun. Earlier this week I was sitting on the couch, tending my whiskey and watching The Expanse. Mrs. Halbs asked me why I love space so much.
“Look at it! That’s where God is,” I said. Maybe that’s it. I love the majesty and wonder and awe of the cosmos. How something can be so grand and lonely and beautiful and mysterious – I like thinking about that. So, when the Mass Effect video game series debuted years ago, it was right up my alley. Or my loading dock? I don’t know what it was up, but I loved it immediately. SPACE!
If you aren’t familiar with Mass Effect, it’s a video game series where you play Commander Shepard, a blank slate of a character for which you can control pretty much everything. Gender, looks, attitude – it’s all up to you. (Bioware, the game’s maker, is famous for its dialogue trees in which your character can handle situations in any number of ways. A big selling point of the trilogy was that every major decision you made could impact the rest of the series for you.) Shepard finds his/herself in the middle of all kinds of international intrigue, amazing battles, touching moments, and unintentionally hilarious romance scenes. The games capture my imagination more than any other fictional world has – it’s my Star Wars/Lord of the Rings/Game of Thrones.
When I found out there were Mass Effect comics, I had to grab them up. This Library Edition collects 400+ pages of Mass Effect stories published by Dark Horse. This sturdy hardcover collection is oversized and includes lots of marginalia from the writers and artists. Kind of cool. Rather than just being a cash grab, the comics were created in collaboration with several folks important to the video games’ story and design.
Since the video games focus on a character that you largely create yourself, the stories in this book can’t focus on Shepard. Instead, they focus on supporting characters that you come to love throughout the three games (it seems like this particular collection is mostly before ME3). If you appreciate the ME universe I think you’ll enjoy at least 75% of the stories in the book. Any time spent with Liara, Garrus, Aria, and the Illusive Man is worthwhile. If you aren’t a fan of the games I don’t think the book would make much sense to you. I recommend for big fans of the series, but it’s not a great jumping on point for others.