The Borderlands games are great, filled with crude laughs, lavish bloodshed, and insane variations of loot. The art style fits the tone wonderfully, and it’s carved a fun niche in the gaming world, except for its storytelling. The team at Gearbox definitely upped the level in the sequel, but some of the things added to the first game’s characters felt a bit . . . tacked on. And, managing to get all four vault hunters into the action seemed a bit forced. Why is this important? This series was meant to do more to flesh out these characters who were mostly weapon loadouts in the first game, and in the same way as with the sequel, some things feel a touch odd.
First with the kudos, the art and tone are spot on, though a little darker. Brick’s first lines in the series are freakishly funny and all too appropriate for the character. In this issue, he really gets to shine, which is definitely a treat for us readers. To be fair, all of the main characters are great, the heavier tone to their demeanor absolutely serves the idea of giving these characters more depth and intrigue. Each of the four “players” feels true to their counterparts in both games, I really enjoy the upped sense of skeeviness to Marcus, and Claptrap is on point, because, well, Claptrap. They even made me feel something for the little, metal rodent. For like, a second. Then, he spoke again.
We still don’t really have much tying the foursome together other than “We came to hunt for the Vault” and we’re doing that together. They’re all still learning about each other, but we’re not sure why they’re together in the first place. It makes the trust they share with each other feel a bit plotted.
In Issue #3, we get to meet one of my favorites, Scooter, and here’s where I felt odd. Something about his attitude and posture just feel . . . too put together. Because we’re treated to so much of his rambling, one-sided dialogue in the games, I feel I know the voice and attitude pretty well, and for once his weird nonsense felt out of place with the character on the page. I don’t know quite what it is, but it certainly made me take notice.
Those things aside, this book is great fun. It’s the first time the team seems to be working together, and it goes as well as you expect it to. We finally meet the book’s version of Nine-Toes, and he’s actually much scarier on the page than he was randomly running at you spouting rhetoric in the game. He, too, seems much more composed, but in his case it serves to make him much more interesting and more threatening. He’s still bats–t crazy, but in a Christopher Nolan kind of reserved way, and it’s really fun to look at him as a more intellectual threat.
There’s a ton for any fan of the series to enjoy in this book, which I feel marks the series beginning to carve out its own identity, whereas the first two seemed tied much more to the beginning of the first game. It’s a great way to re-experience all the whackadoo without all the death and annoying condescension of the New-U lady. (Curse you, robotic snark mistress!)
If you haven’t jumped into this series yet, this is a great time. It’s a bold mix of action, comedy, and goofball antics bound with some interesting folks, all lumped into some ridiculous action sequences. There are some differences from the games, but that’s what a different medium does, right? Give you a chance to look at a character in a new way, maybe you find something you like about them all the more.
Well, things are exploding. Enjoy the read, and we’ll see you next time in the Borderlands.
Catch a RIIIIIIIDE!