Title: Call of Duty: Black Ops III #1 – 3
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
Writer: Larry Hama
Artists: Marcelo Ferreira, Dan Jackson
Released: Issues 1 & 2 out now; issue 3 out 20th January 2016
Call of Duty. Ah, I remember the days – all jingoism, ‘your mom’ jokes, and hot virtual lead flying everywhere. But the question that almost immediately comes to mind in this context is… well, can it make a good comic book? Movie, sure, why not? Have Michael Bay go nuts. But a comic? Well, here we have a foray into that territory, and with some not inconsiderable talent at the reigns, including Larry Hama, of G.I. Joe fame. If there’s anyone out there who could convert CoD’s mindless mayhem into something coherent enough for sequential art, it’s him.
Sadly, it would appear that Hama is on auto-pilot here, as whilst there’s as much bang as your average Bayhem spectacular, there’s also precisely as much substance. There is a story, but it makes about as much sense as your average Call of Duty game since Modern Warfare 2 – all shady conspiracies, even shadier private militaries, and a whole mess of double crosses and clandestine intrigue.
There’s a curious juxtaposition between the real-world geo-political tensions that the story ostensibly grounds itself in – extrapolated, of course, through to a hypothetical future war – against the utter absurdity of both the scenarios, and the dialogue that the characters spout. From things being ‘mondo effective’ through to the faux-chest pumping ‘I’m maximising my firepower’, it’s all so very thudding, with all the subtlety of a drunk wildebeest.
The book does have a single saving grace in its art, which does a great job of capturing the dynamism of Call of Duty combat. It’s nicely stylised, telling what story there is with a snappy pace, and Ferreira does a great job of rendering each locale that the characters find themselves in. He’s also got a great knack for rendering the over-the-top violence that the story calls for, and whilst their occasional missteps in terms of characters actions not quite lining up with the dialogue, it’s certainly a superficially good-looking book.
It’s a shame that the story fails to properly contextualise it at any point – so much so that it just becomes white noise in the background of…well, nothing. Unlike the ever-popular competitive multiplayer, there are no rewards to be had here, even if you’ve a vested interest in the plots of the latest game. Just a lot of excellent drawings, strung together with inanity. Avoid.
The Writer of this piece was: Ross Sweeney
Ross tweets from @Rostopher24