Dark Souls is up there in my ranks of all time video game experiences; alongside the Zelda series and Witcher 3 — playing Dark Souls for months after my son was born is an experience that defines well what gaming really means to me. Also, the fact that the game was brutal and unforgiving made the accomplishment of beating the game that much more enjoyable.
Dark Souls: Tales of Ember #1 (Titan Books)
When I saw that they were making another Dark Souls comic, I was excited. I’m a sucker for tie-in media, and if the previous series was any indication, Tales of Ember too would excellent. The first series did a good job capturing the creepy tone of DS, and didn’t mess with the lore that so many hold sacred – but it gave us a character, and that upon reflection, just doesn’t work as well.
The first issue of Tales of Ember is not all that great but it does one thing well: everyone is expendable, and death comes quite often, so characters are not really needed. Let’s discuss.
First – this issue, 1 of 2, is a short story collection. Very quick hits of short DS tales – no time to build too much depth – just in and out and done.
I think this is the high point of the issue. These short pieces are ominous, mysterious, and god damn ugly in their brutality – just like the game.
Where this issue falls apart is that none of these stories are very well told. The first tale is just confusing, the second cliche, the third – while the artwork is spectacular, it’s also confusing, and the fourth just pushes us towards issue two.
Overall – disappointing on the writing front.
The artwork = some high points, some odd ones. The choice to go with different artists for the stories is great, as the varied choices give much different tones – and some of the art is excellent. The odd points are some of the style decisions made. I can see some of the more hyper sketched painting like art being the perfect medium for a long tale, as the more unsettling the art, the harder it might be to keep reading – but for a short snippet, it never gets the head of steam it needs.
Still a huge DS nerd, but this one fell short for me.