We love getting lost into the mythos of a beloved video game franchise. While feature films and television shows typically falter in adapting stories from our favorite titles, comic books often deliver justice to expanding a video game world’s lore, further enriching the experience without holding a controller. Here are 13 great comic books that give due diligence to their namesakes.
Assassin’s Creed by Titan Comics
Current number of issues: 14 to 23
There are countless stories to tell through sundry eras in Assassin’s Creed’s macrocosm, which have successfully carried over into the comic medium. Titan Comics’ ongoing Assassin’s Creed series, along with the Templar issues, in particular stand out above other AC comics with quality writing and aesthetics that explore periods the games have yet to touch upon, including the California gold rush, Salem during the witch trials, and Spain in the early 1500s. Assassin’s Creed also manages to make the modern-day moments far more engaging than its video game counterpart, which is an accomplishment in its own right.
Dragon Age: Magekiller by Greg Rucka and Carmen Carnero
Number of issues: 5
BioWare might be known for its excellent storytelling in its games, but many of the comics based on its franchises are equally compelling. Set before and during the events in Dragon Age: Inquisition, Dragon Age: Magekiller follows Marius and Tessa Forsythia, a two-person mercenary group hired to, well, kill mages. You can tell it’s passionately written by author Greg Rucka, who wrote numerous Eisner Award-winning comics for Marvel and DC and once said, “I’d cut a throat to get into the Mass Effect and Dragon Age universes” in an interview with Kotaku. Magekiller is a lovingly weaved tapestry amplifies what makes Dragon Age’s mythos so wondrous.
Halo: Fall of Reach by Brian Reed and Felix Ruiz
Number of issues: 12
Over the span of three arcs, Marvel’s Halo: Fall of Reach comic – adapted from the novel of the same title – details the events that ultimately lead to the inevitable defeat of numerous Spartans on Reach, a forerunner planet that’s the second-most human-colonized world. The first, Boot Camp, focuses on Master Chief’s childhood and the training he undergoes to become a Spartan. Covenant, the second, goes through the early days of the Human-Covenant War. The final arc is the big battle on Reach. The story visually lends itself well to the lore and helps further expand Halo’s dense universe. It gives interesting insight to things gamers have wanted see in a Halo title for years, such as Master Chief’s origins.
The Last of Us: American Dreams by Neil Druckmann and Faith Erin Hicks
Number of issues: 4
Spinning off The Last of Us’ Left Behind story DLC, The Last of Us: American Dreams shows a portion of Ellie’s upbringing inside the quarantine zone and how she met Riley, a girl who is a major influence in Ellie’s life. The comic is essential to the franchise and serves as an excellent but tragic compatriot to the original game and Left Behind. American Dreams is also the only comic on this list written by its game’s lead writer, Neil Druckmann, and his work shines on each page.
Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice by Valve
Number of issues: 4
Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice is a canonical comic that takes place before and during the events of the first game’s downloadable content, The Suffering. Its story reveals the Survivors’ journey through hordes of the undead at a military base. Each of the four issues is titled after each one of the game’s playable characters. The most enjoyable part about this comic adaptation is seeing how each survivor first encountered zombies – one of which is brutal – and how the characters have grown in that time. It’s also a nice companion story that leads up to the events of The Passing DLC, where the survivors from the first and second Left 4 Dead games cross paths.
The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past by Shotaro Ishinomori
Number of issues: 12
Originally appearing in Nintendo Power magazine in the early ’90s, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past mostly adapts the story of one of the all-time best Zelda titles but with some unique alterations. Oh, and Link talks which is always weird. These changes might feel jarring to those who know the game’s every pixel, but the slight tweaks to the story combined with the way it blends comics and manga with nostalgic ’90s artwork gives A Link to the Past a fresh outlook Zelda fans will enjoy. This comic also marks one of the last works by Shotaro Ishinomori, who penned several popular manga, including Cyborg 009 and Kamen Rider.
[Up Next: A blue blur throwback, stories from the Milky Way, two Italian brothers who do actual plumbing, and more round out these awesome comics.]