Mass Effect: Invasion #3
Written by Mac Walters and John Jackson Miller
Art by Omar Francia
Review by Bobby Shortle
Talk to any writer and they will tell tale of the vengeful jilted mistress known as exposition. You can avoid her, you can ignore her but she is always waiting to stab you in the back around the next corner. Mass Effect Invasion, to this point, has gotten away with skirting the responsibility of explaining its labyrinth like plot. It instead has chosen to rely on it’s rich universe and solid characters to propel us into the throws of an intergalactic narrative. I use the past tense because unfortunately Mass Effect Invasion 3 has had too pay the expositional price for it’s predecessors’ lapses and the result is by far the weakest of the three issues.
There has always been a lot of rigmarole to deal with in the Mass Effect universe. In point of fact the games have been great because they have always given you focused ways of deciphering all the universe has to offer. This is due in large part to my character getting to decide when and at what pace information is parsed out. Writers Mac Walters and John Jackson Miller don’t have the luxury of player agency and so most of what they write feels burdened with the weight of narrative minutia. The majority of the book is wasted on explanations of what one faction is doing to another faction or characters spouting off James Bond villain like speeches about master plans. The most disheartening aspect of this is that up until this point Walters and Miller have done such a bang up job of establishing this cast of characters that all this exposition wasn’t even needed. It feels like someone involved had little to no faith in the sharpness of their readers and pushed the panic button. A move that has achieved nothing in my eyes except to alienate me from a story I was otherwise full engaged in.
I would assume that vigilant readers make up the core of Mass Effect Invasions audience which is why it’s a shame that issue #3 is a waste for that group. I can only hope that with all of this explaining out of the way the next issue gets back to doing what it does best.
Wait and See – The first two issues were excellent pieces of science fiction writing but this installment is flat and over explanatory. My continuing faith in the writers and creators at Bioware tells me that this will close out in a satisfactory way but this issue is not quite up to snuff.