Blizzard’s Overwatch Rides a Dark Horse!

17 Dec

By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

Dark Horse Comics
Available Now

Spoiler Alert

Blizzard’s hit video game Overwatch now has a much expected print version in a comic book! I’m sure the title of this series London Calling is intentional, as Tracer’s time as an agent seems over. The official summary says, “Five years after the ratification of the Petras Act, she now tends to small-scale crimes as a part-time hero. But when a punk-rock omnic named Iggy shows Tracer the dire living conditions that have been forced upon London’s omnics, Tracer becomes determined to help in any way possible—even if it puts her back in the crosshairs.”

It’s easy to find the cinematics and follow some parts of the story online. Keeping up when I’m not regularly playing the game is tough, especially when my interests are all over the place! I love the costumes from this universe and the Patlabor type landscape. The characters are just as cool too. Unfortunately, I suck at first-person shooters. My reflexes and shooting skills aren’t great and the nausea I get from fast frame rates from the FPS perspective gets to me after ten minutes.

I still can’t explain why Tracer reminds me of Oni (by Bungie West). They are similar enough in minor ways, but their backgrounds are different; I feel she may have come from some discarded character design concepts from ages ago. Of note, this publisher released a tie-in comic book based on this early 00s property too.

It’s nice to see Tracer in a proper story. The team of Mariko Tamaki (Writer, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me), Babs Tarr (Artist, Batgirl), Heather Danforth (Art Assistant, Alfa Romeo 1933), Hunter Clark (Layout, The Return of King Doug), Rachel Cohen (Colourist, The Goon) and Deron Bennett (Letterer, Resonant) give this world the life that’s really needed outside of the video game realm. The panels pop and they are as dynamic as the fighter. This cop is spunky and I love the personality that’s featured in this written medium over animated. Plus, the little pop culture nods in the background is cute. Add in the British Punk aesthetic and I’m sold! I couldn’t help but enjoy how Marilyn Monroe appears too! (sort of)

Reading this comic makes me wish the Overwatch franchise expand into deeper puzzle solving and RPG style territory over shoot-em ups. I don’t expect hand to hand combat (like in Oni) to come into the equation, but it’d help equalize the problem I have with playing FPS games. This comic’s tie-in to the last seasonal video game content gives gamers that narration to understand what’s going on. For non-gamers, perhaps a prologue is needed.

Tracer’s a cop, and I fully expect the later issues to go Die Hard. I can’t wait to see it happen. Now I wonder if the two west-coast giants in the video game and comic book industry have more planned for the other characters?

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