Posted by Marianne Miller on Mar 20, 2013

Review – Art of Dead Space and Dead Space Graphic Novels (Titan Books)

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We recently were sent a care package from Titan Books containing The Art of Dead Space, as well as the Dead Space graphic novel and Dead Space: Salvage and Dead Space: Liberation.  I’ve received other review care packages from Titan Books and haven’t been disappointed by the contents–Titan Books are well printed, with vibrant colors, strong binding and thick pages.

These books were no different, and The Art of Dead Space being thicker than most artbooks, presumably because rather than focusing on one of the games in the trilogy in particular, it features designs from all three, as well as a small area dedicated to the graphic novels.  The artbook is 192 pages long and a substantial size, with glossy pages.  The book is separated into sections with detailed descriptions of the designs, ranging from Isaac’s different suits to the design of the Ishimura, as well as weapons, machinery and the Necromorphs.

When it comes to the Graphic Novels included, I was more than a bit disappointed in the content itself. The novel titled Dead Space was yet another expansion on what happened to cause the initial outbreak (with story by Antony Johnston and art by Ben Templesmith), only this time focusing on the colony that found the marker rather than the crew on the Ishimura.  However, this story feels rather redundant by now (considering the whole discovery process of Dead Space, followed by the Downfall anime which basically contains the same information).  The artwork in this particular book feels amateur and inconsistent, the character designs feel the same, and the book features more than a handful of typos.

Dead Space: Salvage is a stand-alone story with a story by Antony Johnston and art by Christopher Shy featuring a crew of scavengers stumbling upon the Ishimura before the government manages to find it, and both parties obviously running into trouble with the necromorphs still on board.  Salvage features a different artist with a much more realistic style that feels as though you’re looking at it through the bottom of a bottle–the images feel a little foggy, and that’s not necessarily bad.  However, the font takes a significant hit–speech bubbles are eradicated, for whatever reason, and the font itself is something I haven’t seen in graphic novels since Gravitation was released in 2005.  Many times, the color of the speech font matches the background, making it nearly impossible to read, and the transitions between scenes are nonexistent.

The final book sent to us was Dead Space: Liberation, this time written by Ian Edginton with art by Christopher Shy again.  This book follows the story of a man whose wife was murdered by religious fanatics in their attack against a Marker site, and in his grief, teams up with a Necromorph survivor and a Captain to try and inform others of the looming threat to the human race.  The artwork is consistent with Shy’s work in the previous graphic novel–foggy but realistic.  However, the dialog is not as strong as the others, and the godawful font from Salvage managed to somehow get worse.  For whatever reason, it was decided to use the same font as before, but in all caps while still lacking speech bubbles, which makes the book look pretty amateur, despite the striking artwork.  Thankfully, the issue with the font colors blending with background is less of an issue in this novel.

Overall, if you’re like the Dead Space lore, you may want to pick up the novels, but it’s not something I would especially encourage. However, the artbook is top notch and should definitely be sitting on the shelf of anyone’s bookcase who calls themselves a fan of the series.

All books are currently available now.

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