One of the perks of being a player of a game like Mass Effect, is the many, many characters the creators have fleshed out for their fans. It’s an entire universe populated with humans and alien species, with otherworldly locations, cool space ships, etc. so the array of novelty was always going to be quite wide.
Sure, Commander Shephard is the guy/girl you play with when you are blasting your way through the Mass Effect games, but you encounter so many others that you end up having such close ties with – can you help but wonder, whatever happened to them? Why did they turn out like this? And what goes on in their lives when Commander Shephard isn’t around?
Mass Effect writers and creators actually have the answers for you. The process of creating a video game and all its characters is painstaking, and in order to give a polished and brilliant final result, creators need to invest in their project.
These best Mass Effect comics show that the developers have indeed invested deeply because through these graphic novels they tell the backstories or the behind-the-scenes of characters and events that are mentioned in the Mass Effect games.
Written by Mac Walters, the lead writer of the Mass Effect 2 and Mass Effect 3 series adds a level of fidelity to the Mass Effect lore that fans are sure to appreciate. We also covered his name in our article about the best Mass Effect books. Do not forget to check it out! Let’s now take a look at our best Mass Effect comics review.
Best Mass Effect Comics
After the attack on the Normandy, Commander Shephard has gone missing. There is a price on the body of the biggest war hero in the space though, and two of the biggest antagonists want it, so the search is ongoing.
However, Commander Shephard’s enemies aren’t the only ones out there looking for what’s left of him or her, dead or alive. His squad member, pure-bred asariLiaraT’Soni, also wants to find out where the Commander is so she can rescue him or her. Using her biotic powers and fueled by her loyalty towards Commander Shephard, Liara sets out on a quest to bring the war hero back – and finish off anyone standing in her way.
In Redemption, the first graphic novel in the mass effect comic series, Mass Effect fans will get to fill in the blanks of that particular event in the games. Fans of Liara will especially love seeing her fighting off evil! One of the best Mass Effect comics for those that just can’t get enough of Shephard’s blue (potential) girlfriend.
If there are any die-hard fans of the Illusive Man, this is one of the best mass effect comic books for you! There are always those that have a secret affinity for the evil characters in any book, movie, or game, because it is true that the antagonists have a much more interesting backstory.
Mass Effect: Evolution gives you that story. In this graphic novel, the writers and artists have explored the origins of the Illusive Man, how he came to be. No one is born an evil leader of a black ops humanity-first group, after all, and clearly there have been a series of events that have turned Jack into what he is today.
The graphic novel also includes a mini-story, Incursion, that adds a little more information on the Collector incursion, so there’s an added bonus too. This Mass Effect comic is a must-have for those that want to understand one of the games’ major villains, and who now, perhaps, hate him a little.
Aria T’Loak is the ruthless and intrepid ruler of the Omega space station, the center and hub of the capital in the lawless Terminus Systems. Not everyone is cut out to reign over a population of criminals, terrorists, and anyone who wishes to escape rigid rules. However, Aria is such a character, and in Mass Effect: Invasion we will get to meet the Pirate Queen in all her glory.
The black ops group, Cerberus, who strives for a humanity-dominated galaxy, has its sights set on Omega. The space station is a strategically important foothold in the galaxy, and soon Cerberus descends on it.
Aria will have to fight tooth and nail to ward off the paramilitary group and escape the Illusive Man’s clutches, but in order to do so, the already fierce asari will have to become even more ruthless.
This third mass effect graphic novel delves into the story of what happens between the end of the Mass Effect 2 and the start of the Mass Effect 3 games, and is definitely an addition you need to complete your Mass Effect comics collection!
In an intergalactic universe so heavily populated by different alien races, it’s only natural to be curious about the backstory of each one, and how they relate to the place they came from. That’s what this one of the best Mass Effect comics achieves for fans.
The large number of writers and illustrators is due to the format of this mass effect graphic novel: it is four stories rolled up in one. It tells the backstories of James Vega, Tali, Garrus, and Liara. If you are a hard-core fan of either or all of these characters, this is definitely one of the best books on our list of Mass Effect comics, one you can’t miss out on.
Foundation is a three-volume Mass Effect comic book series that continues with the premise of Homeworlds. It follows four characters in Mass Effect, giving more information on their origins and how they got to the point where you meet them when playing the videogame.
The chosen four are Rasa, Wrex, Ashley, and Kaidan, so if you are particularly enamored with any one of them, pick up your copy of the best Mass Effect comic you’ll get your hands on. When you encounter these characters in-game, they already come with some backstory, but Foundation takes it to a whole other level, going right back to what started it all. The foundations, wouldn’t you have guessed it?
Rasa and Cerberus
The comics start out by letting us know how Rasa ended up working for an organization like Cerberus – and why she has the strengths that she has. A little more screen time for another one of the Mass Effect’s legendary female bad-asses, the readers and fans of the game will get to see her develop into the agent she becomes when Commander Shephard first meets her. As is to be expected, like wasn’t all fun and games for Rasa growing up, and she’s had to create quite a thick skin to survive.
Next, you’ll get more of a sense for Wrex, the krogan bounty hunter who combines powerful biotic skills and advanced use of firearms.
Ashley Williams also makes an appearance, and the comic book explains how she got to Eden Prime, which is where Commander Shephard first rescues her from. Ashley’s backstory delves into her family history, how her family name has affected her career, and gives an insight into the type of fighter she is – and just how far she goes to get out of a scrape.
The last of the characters is Kaidan, a member of Commander Shephard’s original squad. As gamers know, Kaidan possesses biotic powers, and his story traces his origins back to how he trained to be able to control them.
All of the stories happen more or less parallel, and the events are all leading up to the first Mass Effect games, which really helps round out these secondary characters and give them more depth and dimensions.
Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 2 helps readers and gamers connect the dots to one of the bigger mysteries at the start of Mass Effect 2 – how was Commander Shephard’s body found? The characters that made it possible all become protagonists in this best Mass Effect comic book for everyone eager to find answers to lingering in-game questions.
When Commander Shephard disappears, it’s Miranda Lawson who goes looking for the body. The engineered-to-perfection Cerberus operative is on the hunt to know what happened to the Commander, and she recruits Jacob Taylor along the way. Jacob is disillusioned with the Alliance and has stepped out of the organization, and was drinking away his sorrows when he decides to take Miranda up on her plan.
You will get to follow both characters and finally discover how they managed to track down Commander Shephard, in case your curiosity was itching to know.
Foundation Volume 2 also gives you more Rasa stories, so good news to all Maya Brooks fans! Rasa is trying to track down criminal biotic powerhouse Jack, a desperate quest that has her crossing paths with one of the most reputed assassins in the galaxy: Thane Rios.
Mordin Solus is the salarian geneticist that developed the particular strain of genophage that was used as a bio-weapon against the krogans. If you remember and liked the idea of reading of biological warfare, follow Mordin as he creates his destructive strain and read about the choices he makes on his way to unleash it.
Kasumi Goto is the best thief in the galaxy, but even a thief can get her heart stolen and then broken. The story of Kasumi centers on her love affair with Keiji, following the two lovebirds in their adventures.
You also get some decent action from mercenary ZaeedMassani, for lovers of heists with an element of surprise, and lots of the dry wit and humor that Zaeed likes to serve up.
And finally, get to know Thane Rios’s backstory too. Even assassins had to start at some place, they weren’t just born killers, and Foundation Volume 3 goes into the reasons for the development of such a murderous character.
A must-have for truly invested fans of Mass Effect, and a nice way to finish off the Foundation series that gives you the insight into all your favorite characters you were looking for!
Not everyone has the same “potential protagonist” weight in the game, and not all happenings require actual graphic novels to explain. Still, some fans are interested, and it’s for those fans that the Bioware team has created this mini-comic series.
These best Mass Effect comics are barely a few pages long. The perfect length for someone who is just looking for a brief story to leaf through, without having to invest too much time into, but is still interested in seeing good art and learning about more dimensions of the Mass Effect Universe.
Throughout this mini-comic series, readers can explore some beloved characters and have some quick fun-reading experiences.
Mass Effect: Incursion is a mini-series that tells the story of Aria T’Loak’s scramble with the Collectors. It covers the events that happen one week before the opening setting for the Mass Effect 2 game, giving a little backstory on why the videogame kicks off there and how it came to be.
It’s a short and sweet story that introduces some of the locations that gamers will encounter in Mass Effect 2, such as the Omega space station that Aria rules and the Afterlife bar where she came from. A nice read for Mass Effect fans and lovers of all things Aria.
Mass Effect: Inquisition
Continuing with the idea of giving some depth to many of the characters that gamers interact with as they assume the role of Commander Shephard, Mass Effect: Inquisition focuses on Captain Bailey.
This is one of the best Mass Effect comic for gamers that enjoy interactions with the no-nonsense C-sec officer, and his somewhat grey moral code when it comes to following formal rules and regulations. This mini graphic-novel will give you a brief outline of who Captain Bailey is, in case you were wondering.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to read a comic book about giant pink, jellyfish-like alien with a killer personality, wonder no more. The creators of Mass Effect have brought to you one of the best Mass Effect comics, if not the funniest, thanks to the fabulous persona of Blasto the Hanar.
Gamers are already familiar with the Hanar race, of course, and Blasto is the curious hanar chosen to be the protagonist of this short comic. “A lover in every port and a gun in every tentacle” is the very fitting description for this bizarre man-of-war alien. Witty, sarcastic and a force to be reckoned with, fans of the game will chuckle their way through this one. Turns out Blasto is a blast.
Jeff “Joker” Moreau is the confident – some would say cocky – pilot of the SSV Normandy. Given that he was born with Vrolik Syndrome, which causes his bones to be so brittle they break like glass, it is quite a feat that he managed to scale up the Navy and pilot a deep scout frigate like the Normandy.
In this one of the best Mass Effect comics, readers will find out what the unsmiling “Joker” went through to get where he is in the games today, especially given his health problems. A fun and light read, it sheds more light on a complex and interesting character that is often in contact with Commander Shephard.
What Order to Read Mass Effect Comics?
Most of the Mass Effect comic books tell the backstories of characters that appear in the game, but are not Commander Shephard, since it’s the gamer’s decisions that determine much of Shephard’s trajectory. In that sense, many of them can be read in whatever Mass Effect comics order the reader prefers, perhaps picking and choosing the comic book based on a particular character they are most interested in. For example, both Mass Effect: Redemption and Mass Effect: Foundation Volume 1 deal with the disappearance of Commander Shephard after the attack on the SSV Normandy; however, they tell similar events from the perspective of two entirely different characters.The Foundation series will ideally be read in the order it was published in, Volume 1, 2 and 3, but the rest work pretty well as stand-alone game tie-ins. The same can be said for the single-issue mini comics. Those stories are a mere few pages long, meant as a brief but fun distraction with additional information on Mass Effect universe happenings and lore, and no particular Mass Effect comics reading order is required to enjoy them.
Who Publishes Mass Effect Comics?
The comics have been published by one of the biggest graphic novel publishers in the USA: Dark Horse Comics. Dark Horse is the most prominent independent comic book publishing house in the country, especially in an industry dominated by the “Big Two” – Marvel and DC Comics. Bioware and Dark Horse partnered up to publish the Mass Effect comic books. By turning to a large independent publisher, the writers are allowed more creative freedom, and are not as limited by the editorial restraints larger publishing houses impose.Thus, the creators of the Mass Effect games have been free to give the backstories they imagined for their characters in the Mass Effect comic series and single-issue graphic novels, which the true fans of the game and universe can now thoroughly enjoy.
Who Writes the Mass Effect Comics?
Obviously, any graphic novel requires the input of several heads, and you’ll have seen by the credits that it’s a long list indeed. The main author behind the comic books is Mac Walters. Mac Walters is also the main writer for the Mass Effect games 2 and 3, so he has a unique vision into the Mass Effect universe and fans will be delighted to see that there are no gaps and faults in the lore.Because for those that are deeply invested, these things matter. Period. The Mass Effect Andromeda comics are written by John Dombrow, who also collaborated on some of the Mass Effect graphic novels and was a lead writer in the Mass Effect Andromeda game.