Adaptation: The Best Comics adapted from Video Games

by |July 24, 2015

Guest Blogger Jeremy Vine looks at the best comics to be adapted from video games.

The recent release of the video game Batman: Arkham Knight got me thinking – what fantastic comics have been adapted from video games? The Arkham series has already had a number of digital tie ins from DC Comics, but there are some great other titles that are perfect for people who want to re-live adventures (or need something to read during loading screens).

Here’s a selection of some of my favourites:

Tomb Raider

tomb-raiderLara Croft – Tomb Raider. Lara has been robbing tombs for a couple of decades now, and Dark Horse Comics have been right there with her. Dark Horse has had a long history of adapting other media to comics (no doubt someday I’ll get around to talking about their Aliens books) and Tomb Raider was one of the first. However, the one I’m talking about now is the adaptation of the latest iteration of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider vol. 1: Season of the Witch, written by Gail Simone and following the events of the excellent new video game.

Here, Lara is a young woman, not quite the seasoned adventurer players are used to. Simone hits the right level of action and mystery to keep the reader interested but doesn’t simply re-tell the events of the game. It’s about Lara coming to terms with what happened to her during the game.

Many characters, plot points, and locations from the game reappear, but it’s also accessible to new readers whose only knowledge of Lara is that she raids tombs.

This is an ongoing series and is currently being written by Simone with assistance from Rhianna Pratchett, the writer on the video game the series is adapting. With these two at the helm, the series really captures what made the game great.

Halo: Escalation

halo-escalationOne of the best-selling video games of all time, of course Halo makes the list. Halo: Escalation follows directly on from the events of Halo 4 – the galaxy is at peace following the epic war between humanity and the coalition of alien races known as the Covenant. However, it is not an easy peace.

The story follows the crew of the UNSC Infinity as they are charged with a protecting a peace summit between some of the warring Covenant factions. Things refuse to go smoothly and negotiations break down. Standing on the brink of renewed hostilities between the species, the human forces are drawn into the conflict against their will – but as events unfold they discover that deep behind enemy lines is a UNSC warship, long thought lost, raising the stakes dramatically.

Much like the game series it’s based on, the Halo: Escalation books are action-packed struggles with treachery and mystery woven in. This series will appeal to fans of science-fiction, military adventure or anyone wanting to know more about the Halo universe, as they expand on the worlds that the games started to develop.

Injustice: Gods Among Us

injusticeIn an alternate version of the DC Universe, things did not go well. The Joker managed to confound Superman, leading to the Man of Steel destroying Metropolis and accidentally killing his wife, Lois Lane.

Bent on vengeance, Superman takes the ultimate step and does what Batman has never been able to bring himself to do – kill the Joker. After that, there is no turning back. With little humanity left in him, Superman begins to remake the world in his image, forcing the other superheroes to choose their side – with him, or against him.

The game takes place five years after that, when the heroes of the regular DC Universe come through a dimensional rift and discover Superman ruling the world with an iron fist, and Batman the only person still fighting against him. Injustice: Gods Among Us – Year One, written by Australian Tom Taylor, takes place during those five years, as Superman rises to power and crushes the resistance against him.

What began as a fighting game has become a New York Times best-seller! While the original story was met with some dismay by fans (Superman, does after all, become a villain), Taylor delivered an astounding series full of pathos and wit. It chronicles the fall of a titan, while delving into just what exactly these superhero vigilantes stand for: is it justice, or is it vengeance?

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Jeremy Vine has been hooked on comics since he taught himself to read with the help of Asterix and Tintin. When not dressing up in costumes and attending pop culture conventions, he is an account manager for Penguin Random House Australia.

More of his thoughts on comics and superheroes in general can be found on the Comics Watchtower Facebook page or at his Twitter account @salesreplyfe

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