Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ratchet & Clank (Comic) - The Loss of 1 Dimension =/= Loss of Quality

Following up from the Future Trilogy in the Ratchet & Clank series, comics publisher Wildstorm released a six-issue miniseries, simply titled Ratchet & Clank, in the years of 2010 and 2011; this was shortly before Wildstorm was swallowed by the much larger DC Comics. Since I was not familiar with the franchise at the time, I never actually picked up any of the issues, but now that I have played the games I decided to read it through the trade paperback, published by DC. I wasn't exactly sure how easily something like Ratchet & Clank could be translated into comic book form, but surely enough it does not disappoint one bit.

After saving the fabric of time and space from Dr. Nefarious, the titular Ratchet and Clank are back on the planet Veldin, working on a hover vehicle when Captain Qwark, who is now the Galactic President, arrives to inform them that planets have mysteriously gone missing. Without any idea who the culprit is, the duo suddenly find themselves in the middle of a planet jacking of Veldin, making their escape after an attack by heavily armed robots. They soon learn, after being taken prisoner, that the man behind all this is former Galactic President Artemis Zogg. It is then up to Ratchet and Clank to not only save Veldin, along with all the other stolen planets, but also find out exactly how Zogg has been stealing worlds in the first place.

The story of this miniseries, aside from the basic premise, is very much like that of a Ratchet & Clank game, thanks to writing of T.J. Fixman. Fixman not only captures the spirit and tone of the games perfectly, but he also manages to slip in the usual style of humor as well, making for some truly hilarious moments throughout the story. That is not to say there is a lack of tension in the plot, of which there is just the right amount to not completely take over and still keep you going. The dialogue is written especially well, since I could hear the main characters' voices in my head as I was reading their lines.

Speaking of which, the characters that appear in this comic are primarily from the Future Trilogy, with a couple of surprise appearances by ones from previous games, including from before said trilogy. Though Dr. Nefarious is mentioned a few times throughout the story, he never makes any sort of appearance, although fans of Mr. Zurkon can safely rejoice.

The artwork of this comic is, to put in one word, incredible, perfectly complimenting the story and capturing the style of the games while putting a unique spin on it. Adam Archer, the interior artist for all six issues, does a fantastic job with the sequential art as well as giving the right body language to the characters onscreen for the situation at hand, especially when it comes to the facial expressions. The action scenes, which can easily take up as much as two pages, are drawn spectacularly and allow you to see something new each time you look at them without going overboard on the detail. The covers of each issue, drawn by Creaturebox, display what you can expect from each part of the comic with just the right amount of energy, and while they use a different style from Archer's, they are by themselves a sight to behold.

The Ratchet & Clank comic is something I would definitely recommend to fans of the games, especially those who have just played the Future Trilogy and want something more. While the comic can be enjoyable on its own, it makes a bit more sense once you are already familiar with, or at least have some knowledge of, the characters from the games. In any case, Adam Archer and T.J. Fixman have created a perfect Ratchet & Clank story and a video game comic that is worthy enough to have in your library.

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