Mass Effect: Invasion by Mac Walters
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
The Mass Effect graphic novels continue to be interesting, though like book two of the series, I don’t feel like this book is essential reading. The first book set an incredibly high bar with its focus on what happened to Commander Shepard between the prologue of Mass Effect 2 and the main story. It also focused on Liara, one of my favorite characters, and it was just a great story to boot.
This book focuses on Aria and how she lost control of Omega Station, which is something that becomes a sidequest focus in Mass Effect 3. And while Aria herself is an interesting character, the line this story has to follow is basically a tightrope. There’s very little room for deviation. We know Aria’s going to lose the station. We know we’ll help her take it back. It makes it hard to really feel invested in the struggle. This might also be due to a general ‘meh’ feeling that I have towards Omega itself as a plotline, as the Omega downloadable content (DLC) missions were fairly lackluster.
Still, although this book doesn’t excel, it’s good as a straight-up comic book tale of kicking ass and cool battle art. I really love how biotics are depicted in the comics; even with the hard sci-fi approach that the Mass Effect universe takes, biotics are shown as these incredibly cool space wizards. It’s also been one of my laments about the game narrative, that it can’t be more of a plot point if my Commander Shepard is a biotic (which he always is).
In conclusion, we have a solid, serviceable story, but one that won’t go on to impress. It doesn’t meet the high bar set by its first predecessor, but there’s nothing here that’s absolutely wrong either, the way the novel “Mass Effect: Deception” was so horrifically flawed. That’s one of the fascinating things about the Mass Effect story universe; its tie-in materials have ranged from the amazing to the awful. “Invasion” falls solidly in the middle, and so I don’t mind telling diehard Mass Effect lore aficionados to give it a look even as I tell more casual fans that they’re safe giving this one a pass.