This month, we saw the release of a couple of good games for the Halloween season: Alien Isolation, Costume Quest II, and of course, The Evil Within. Released by Bethesda Softworks and directed by Sinji Mikami (who also directed Resident Evil and Resident Evil 4), this game has a lot of hype going for it. However, why am I talking about it? Well, there was a comic prequel of sorts that was released to go with the brand new game. Is it good?
The Evil Within #1 (Titan Comics)
A woman by the name of Dana is driving down a dark road when her car breaks down and she loses all cell reception (ain’t that always the case?). With lights in the distance, she wanders towards them, having really no other direction to go in and comes across a diner. That won’t be the only thing she runs into on this dark night, including a man named Paul, mysterious figures and creatures, and perhaps her missing friend Kate.
This looks totally inviting if you ask me.
Now, I’m not too familiar with the game outside of a basic premise. I know it’s out now, but I haven’t gotten much of a chance to look into it, other than watching a video of someone playing the first chapter. As such, I couldn’t really say how true to the game this comic is or how it serves as a prequel or side story… but what I can say is that this is a very poorly constructed comic. Things just happen with no lead in and sometimes just out of the blue that it leaves you confused about what you just read. Honestly, I’m not sure what to make of this comic having just finished it and being baffled by everything I saw.
The writing in general here leaves so much to be desired. Character-wise, this is completely flat and shallow. We barely or don’t even know a single thing about the characters until the final four pages. No seriously, nothing. We don’t know much of their backstory or even their names until the very end. As such, when we finally get introduced to them, this info drop comes at the most awkward of places. It’s really hard to get attached or care about characters when they don’t even know much about them or given a reason to care.
“What’s going on” is a question you’ll be asking yourself repeatedly.
This book’s dialogue is forgettable and doesn’t really stand out, except during the awkward exposition moments where the comic tries to fill in the narrative and backstory. The pacing and story flow are awful. It’s honestly hard to follow at points since the transition between scenes are so abrupt and the story never takes a moment to slow down. The ending is also abrupt, feeling like the story just decided to stop out of nowhere. Finally, there is the horror aspect of the book and it’s just as weak as the rest of the comic. Due to the pacing, the comic never lets a moment actually happen without rushing through, and with how random things are it’s really hard to feel scared or nervous about anything you are seeing. So in a nutshell, this is a very rushed and abrupt comic.
The artwork could be the best thing about the book, but even then, it’s not particularly great. The regular humans look constantly off, with their weird and unusual facial expressions. The layouts make the story feel cramped and don’t give the story room to breathe. The inking and coloring are muddy, but not in a way that helps with the tone or mood all that much. There’s really nothing visually frightening or eye-catching, outside some of the monsters (though the comic just buzzes by them quickly). The art at least seems to try to fit the comic and tone, but it’s not doing the best job it could do.
Is It Good?
The Evil Within #1 is a mess from start to finish. The story is rushed, the characters are boring and unexplored, the writing is below average, and the artwork is rather weak. I don’t know how exactly this comic will fit into the video game, but honestly, it’s not doing a good job of making me want to find out. Best to just skip it.