Comic Book Review: Crackdown #1
How would I best describe Crackdown? Halo in the Big City on steroids. Truthfully I’m shocked that we haven’t gotten more Crackdown comics before now. Either way, smart move that they have decided to put out a comic somewhat side by side with the recent release of Crackdown 3. So off the bat this is good to have in your collection if you’re simply a fan of the game who wants all bases covered with this expanded universe.
For a first issue, this creative team succeeded in easing us into the world of Crackdown. Honestly, Crackdown felt like such a long time ago. Well, 2010 is actually a long time so. So there is no blaming anyone who between then and now might feel as though the story is not so fresh in their minds. It certainly was not for me because so many big games have come out between then and now. That is why with these adaptation books it is always important to use those first pages to make sure that everyone is on the same page. There was only the question of when this story took place, but that is not entirely something to worry about aside from just understanding the story told in general. With that said, I enjoyed the way this issue opened up to a narration that explained the kind of world that exists here between what these soldiers do, the kind of crime which exists in this not-so-distant future, and the way that this world turns as one that is more plugged-in and interconnected than ever.
Our first taste of action for this first issue was satisfying for the hype that the The Agency had to live up to. When you call this an elite international crime-fighting task force that works to restore peace and deliver justice by any means necessary? That leaves a lot to the imagination whether you have played these games or not. So the execution of the action hit the mark where these soldiers proved exactly why they are a force to be reckoned with. If they didn’t have pinpoint accuracy, their strength made them seem like hulks. The only difference of course being that all this power comes from the suits alone.
My only problem with this first issue just so happened to be the plot. The plot I could get, but understanding the plot also meant getting through a lot of dialogue to keep up with the story. Normally I don’t have a problem with a lot of talking from characters, but when there was so much action at the same time? That left a little more clutter than necessary with every flip of the page. With that said, the narration was excellent as well. It was fitting having that voice that in your head sounded like that rough vet who has been there and done that. The lettering made a big difference as well, as well as the humorous way that censorship was used to show that these guys don’t have a problem with being vulgar. That voice was the one hyping up that first moment of action, and I think they nailed the build-up to that point where other writers in this position might fail because they are getting too wordy without appeal. However, with the next issue the dialogue will have to be dialed back a bit. Spacing matters and you don’t want to overwhelm readers.
I’m actually shocked when this i s one of two licensed books released this week based on a videogame where the interior artwork has been impressive. It says a lot to me when these publishers and creative teams are noticing that every part of a comic like this matters when selling it to someone who plays the games. When the artwork doesn’t meet expectation, it normally means that they don’t care as much as they should. Especially when visuals mean a lot more to gamers than you would think in contrast to someone who only reads comics. This art team put the effort into giving us a full rendering of these advanced suits, and the light effects which add to the impression that they are suped up. It helped that each suit is somewhat distinguishable from the rest. Even giving the team leader that mask made her presence more intimidating just because of the piercing glow of her eyes. Aside from that, the action sequences were fluent, the background behind the panels kept the story lively/engaging, and both the lighting and shadows gave every object the depth needed to pop.
The world of Crackdown explodes onto the pages of this first issue. These aren’t your normal soldiers and The Agency plays by their own rules. Dynamite found themselves a winner with this one so long as this creative teams improves on some of the areas where they need to dial back on the text.