Thursday, January 14, 2010

Dante’s Inferno comic Impression

Dante's Inferno Comic Issue 1
Dante’s Inferno from EA Games has received the comic treatment. Issue 1 of the Dante’s Inferno comic from WildStorm Productions, based on the game, is an interesting read and sheds light on the game that will draw many comparisons to the God of War and Devil May Cry of the world. The trend of comics expanding on a games story is nothing new but EA has taken this art, literally, to new levels as seen in the Dead Space prequel comic. No longer are these just direct ports of the source material, they are now expanded and required reading giving greater insight into the game and it’s characters. In order to better understand Dante the comic utilizes a unique art style and story angle so let’s take a look and throw in some points on the now available demo …

The Story – This series will span six issues covering Dante’s trip to the 9 levels of hell to recover the soul of his beloved. Written by Christo Gage of X-Men, Spider-Man and Wildcats fame, this telling, this issue takes a dark focus on Dante’s motivation for going to hell, the recovery of his beloved Beatrice’s soul. The story takes the beginning from Beatrice standpoint as she recounts her relationship with Dante, his departure to the Crusades and her family’s demise. Her bargain, spoken of in the game demo, is revealed as are other tidbits of info (can’t ruin the whole thing can we). As Dante makes his appearance the focus is shifted to his entry into Hell.

Imagine watching a movie from character A’s perspective then the same story from character B’s. In this case A is the game, the demo (go play) while B is the comic. Gage does a masterful job of showing moments from the game demo but with a slant of outside view and it works so well. While the story, at its core, remains the same it’s the art that is a true departure.

The Art – Incredible Hulk vet Diego Latorre’s art style oozes visions of hell, what gamers would expect when hearing the title Dante’s Inferno. This does not feel like a comic but rather art, epic, gothic art set to word balloons. The imagery is dark and tortured provoking thoughts of Hellraiser. There is no light or hope in these pages only the damned and tormented, just the way it should be. So how does the art relate to the demo?

The Demo – It feels like God of War in the timed button sequences, weapons controls and look at feel (at times, Kratos was in hell for a bit). The art style comes through but the comic’s style would have been better served in the game in place of the animated scenes that feel more like something out of Heavy Metal or Aeon Flux. Having read the comic and seen this level of art is what prompts this to be said. While the animations in-game is good they cannot match the darkness of the comic. The demo plays great, shows off just a touch of what will be found in the full game and while I compare it to God of War (a true compliment) Kratos could never dream of the levels which Dante must traverse. Don’t believe head over to the website and check out the documentaries on each level of Hell. The story in the demo shows the other side, after Beatrice fall, seeing Dante’s encounter with death and his return home and trip to hell. Watch how the game story, action, ties to the comic art, quite excellent and like mentioned before its two sides of the same coin.

Overall the Dante’s Inferno comic is a great read for the art alone but having played the demo and seen the making-of features this will be one hell of a ride for Dante, gamers and readers. Great game tie-ins are as rare as great games so gamers, do yourself the service, practice some greed and lust for volume 1 of Dante’s Inferno now … and play the demo (rated M, so no kiddies).

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