The first issue of DC imprint Wildstorm's new Resident Evil comic book mini-series hits comic book stores tomorrow, and we've taken a sneak peek to see if it's worth your bathroom reading time.
The Bioterrorism Security Assignment Alliance is a great deal busier than the Resident Evil video game series would have us believe, at least going by the first issue of Wildstorm's Resident Evil comic book series. Written by game industry veteran Ricardo Sanchez with art by Kevin Sharpe, the first issue follows BSAA agents Holiday Sugarman and Mina Gere as they take of two different but eventually overlapping missions.
Mina Gere's story actually takes place five days before Sugarman's. A new agent, Gere is assigned with investigating a report on bio-weapon experimentation on the Join Nations Space Station, which of course leads to her crawling through cramped spaces and shooting at mutated creatures. Meanwhile, in the present, gruff veteran Holiday Sugarman leads a strike team into Grezbekistan in order to retrieve a downed satellite containing samples of a tweaked version of the T-Virus. While the two never meet during the first issue, it's easy to see how the characters' paths will cross.
I'm not sure exactly where this story is supposed to tie-in with Resident Evil canon, if at all. The Wildstorm website actually lists the series as a prequel to Resident Evil 5, making mention of Chris Redfield, who doesn't actually appear in this book. The official description reads like so:
Capcom's international video game sensation returns in March with Resident Evil 5 and WildStorm debuts the new prequel miniseries tying into the highly anticipated release! Find out what led Chris Redfield to Africa and learn the dark burden that haunts him! An absolute must-read for fans of the franchise and a starting point for new readers!
From reading that, I don't think that expecting an appearance by Redfield was too much for me to ask, but alas, it isn't so. What we do get is the appearance of enemies from previous games. A Licker makes the scene first, while Holiday's team takes on a horde of Tyrants.
Ricardo Sanchez's writing leaves a lot to be desired. The two main characters fail to make a lasting impression in this first issue, coming off as generic despite some laughable attempts at giving them personality quirks. Sugarman randomly quotes everyone from Euripides to Iron Heroes lead singer Maximus Kilgore, while Gere tells children's jokes to the pilot of her shuttle to help ease her nerves as she travels down a series of corridors that bothers her, despite looking the same as the other corridors she's gone down throughout the issue.
This leads directly to Kevin Sharpe's artwork. While certainly capable, it doesn't feel like there was very much communication between the writer and the artist on the book, as many of the drawings simply don;t feel write for the action they are portraying. Large panels featuring impressive-looking creatures highlight the artist's skill, but don't seem to have any real place in the storyline, and the final page of the book simply had me confused.
As the first issue of a six-issue limited series, Resident Evil #1 doesn't offer much that would make me want to continue reading. There are no obvious hooks to Resident Evil 5, no truly compelling characters, and the storyline as it stands completely failed to grab my interest. It could very well pick up as the series continues, but I'm not sure I'll be there to witness it.