‘Starcraft Volume 1: Scavengers’ - Advance Trade Paperback Review

I was about seven years old when my brother first showed me Starcraft. This juggernaut of a game was instrumental in forming my tastes on the science fiction genre as a whole. The series is now best known for its competitive scene, but I was fascinated with the exciting and mysterious lore the game hinted at in its campaign. I, admittedly, dropped off with the series around the time of Heart of the Swarm, but Starcraft Volume 1: Scavengers, with its retro logo and cover art, reminded me of those early days playing the game on some long-forgotten PC.



Starcraft Volume 1: Scavengers takes a look at the Starcraft universe from the eyes of a small squad of scavengers in deep space seeking wrecked ships they can loot. The team believes they've hit the jackpot when they discover a wrecked alien ship belonging to the enigmatic Protoss, but quickly discover they are not the only living thing on the ship.



The story feels more than a little reminiscent of Alien with the unknown monster eliminating people in the confined ship. Despite this, there's no shortage of unique ideas. A particularly terrifying moment where the monster speaks through the corpses of those it has killed left me speechless.



The author rightfully chooses to focus on the scavenger’s newest member, Caleb. The often bleak and violent Starcraft world is viewed through the eyes of this newcomer, an engineer who only joined the scavengers due to his past relationship with one of the veteran members. He sees hand in hand the compassion the crew feels for each other and their brutality when threatened by the monster, leaving a deep moral ambiguity to their actions. Ultimately, just like in the original Starcraft, there aren't many heroes, just monsters and the people trying to survive.



Crisp and clean, the modern styles of the art are contrasted by the actual character designs that feel like something right out of the '90s. In any other circumstance, I'd question this decision, but the mismatched armor and clashing colors of the Terran characters succeeds in recreating the retro futuristic vibe the original game so masterfully portrayed. My one complaint, and the complaint I often have with similar styles, is the overly detailed faces. With harsh black lines denoting every shadow, the faces can sometimes dip into the uncanny valley.

Starcraft Volume 1: Scavengers surprised me. The recent direction of Starcraft’s lore has been questionable, so I stepped into this story with trepidation. Reading Starcraft: Scavengers felt like stepping back into the world of the Protoss, Terran, and Zerg, but viewing it from a completely different angle, something many other Starcraft comics can’t do. If you’re a fan of Starcraft, this is going to be a must read. If you’re a fan of science fiction in general, expect a story akin to Alien with a few clever twists and turns to keep things interesting.
 

Creative Team: Jody Houser (Writer), Gabriel Guzman (Artist), Michael Atiyeh (Colorist)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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