Resident Evil #1

13th March 2009 | by | 4 Comments

From having been one of the books I was most looking forward to this year, my anticipation for Wildstorm’s Resident Evil 5 tie-in nose-dived once the project was announced in detail, as it became clear that the series was being kept at arms-length from the core of the franchise. Despite an interesting narrative structure, a book wounded by Capcom’s removal of its heroes is put of out its misery by some truly erectable dialogue.

The story is told in two clear episodes, with the BSAA’s Agent Mina Gere’s investigation of a biohazard outbreak aboard an international space station initially appearing unconnected to her compatriot Holiday Sugerman’s South American covert mission. As the issue progresses, however, it comes clear that the latter is a direct consequence of the first story told, being set several hours afterwards. This moment of realisation, however, is the only occasion of interest in the entire issue, with the bland and dull cast only the tip of the iceberg. Despite the name of fan-favourite character Chris Redfield having been banded about during the initial publicity for the series, the only figures from the games to be employed are the menagerie of virus-fuelled monsters that emerge from the shadows to menace the intrepid agents. The adherence to the games’ logic is noticeable, although the writer annoying builds a plot device around an error on his part- the resentment other countries feel towards the supposedly American BSAA is rather curious given that Resident Evil 5 goes to great pains to make clear that the Alliance is a international UN-backed outfit.

As I mentioned, any other efforts on the part of Ricardo Sanchez are rendered pointless by the speech patterns he bestows. Holiday insists on communicating almost entire in portentous quotations from an absurd variety of sources, and the editors have felt the need to add the origins of his comments as footnotes. Although this shatters the credibility of the story, it was probably a wise move, as the text would have been completely incomprehensible without this clarification. Resident Evil emerges as by far the weakest of Wildstorm’s video game tie-ins, and at times threatens to sink the entire line. On showing the book to my fellow reviewer Seb, he took one look at Holiday’s speech and immediately collapsed in helpless laughter. Whilst I didn’t begrudge him this reaction, but I couldn’t bring myself to share his entertainment- I’d paid money to read this rubbish…