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Sunday, February 15, 2009

StarCraft Frontline vol. 2 Impression

StarCraft Frontline volume 2
(I've also posted this on The Examiner, just in case you've seen it there also.) StarCraft, real-time strategy role-playing at its finest. The three races, Zerg, Protoss and Terrans, offer gamers three unique options when choosing the proper strategy for themselves and while there is story behind these battles in-game it’s the races and their units that drive the online and head-to-head battles that have made StarCraft so cultish. Now manga fans and StarCraft players alike can take a peek inside the background, look inside the heads of the races and individuals in the world they either love or would like to get more information on. Tokyopop has published StarCraft Frontline, a manga that collects short stories from various authors and artist that take place in the world of StarCraft but may not tie directly into those games. These side-stories can create connections to a game the same gamer may not have known were possible. That being said this manga is not for everyone. Sci-fi fans will enjoy as there is not too much prior knowledge needed and of course StarCraft fans should check it out, but everyone else, if anything below sounds interesting then give it a spin.

Heavy Armor Pt. 2 – Continuing the story of Wes Carter, a Viking pilot who has been tasked with stopping his former mentor, Jon Dyre, from using his Viking to kill Terrans. The two face-off with a surprise sacrifice at the end, one not to be ruined here. Overall the story is quick, plot very vanilla but it’s the art that really stands out. The Viking’s are very details, crisp and sharp. This is a very good looking story, but does bear reading part 1 in volume 1 of Frontline.

Creep – Go inside the Protoss hierarchy as the lowly scientist work on the dangerous Creep. As containment on the Creep is broken death inside the facility begins to ramp up until finally there is no one left … in a manner of speaking. Story wise Creep is interesting for it’s look inside the Protoss hierarchy but the art is very good, really makes these aliens come alive and reminds of the Jim Lee, Marvel comics days of the 90’s. Excellent line work and an interesting premise that reminds of The Thing.

Newsworthy – The best story, art and plot, in the book. Kate Lockwell is a reporter granted access to go on a mission with the Dominion Marines Corp, something the media has been denied for a very long time. The ‘fluff’ mission for good PR turns bad as the marines are called into action and Kate is shuttled away only to find the ‘alien’ issue the marines were sent to fix is more political control. Things go from bad to worse, airlocks are used for deadly reasons and Kate must move in with her new found knowledge. The art in this story is perfect, worthy of its own full line manga, so take the hint and read this story.

A Ghost Story – A small salvage team, a deadly, abandoned facility with valuable knowledge but a deadly secret. As the salvage team moves in and they being to learn what happened to the facilities their own members begin to be picked off by a mysterious ghost. When there is only one left, one particular female tech, does the truth come and, and hindsight being 20/20, there are some things worse than death. Rush story, so-so art and poor pacing seal the fate of this story. The art has a charcoal look that frankly does not work, the characters are not memorable and the story is just blah. Sad that this ends the book because the other three stories in this manga really do shine with great art and story each.

Overall this was an enjoyable read for this non-StarCraft playing gamer. The stories are bite-size and if a reader does not want to commit to a full manga series month after month, then this collection of stand alone stories will satisfy. Make the call, browse the book online and enjoy during those bio breaks from playing StarCraft.

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