Review - Splinter Cell: Echoes #1

"The world is small, nasty and complicated. Everyone dies alone."

Protecting the free world requires people willing to sacrifice just about everything to keep the world safe. There are few individuals though who are so talented and skilled in that profession that their reputation exceeds that of myth. Sam Fisher is one of those individuals and his talents are on display in Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. The issue is written by Nathan Edmondson, illustrated by Marc Laming (additional inks by Dave Stokes, Michel Lacombe and Salgood Sam) and colored by Ian Herring.

Sam Fisher is a Splinter Cell, a clandestine operative who operated in the shadows of the NSA. That is, he was a Splinter Cell. Now, he mows the lawn and spends time with his daughter. Things are going swimmingly on that front until a mysterious terrorist organization called KROWE begins pursuing targets around the globe, bringing Sam back into the fight.

Fans of the Splinter Cell games know who Sam Fisher is, but for those who don't, Edmondson does an excellent job bringing them up to speed. His Sam is exactly in line with the one portrayed in the games: cold, confident and extremely calculating. It's almost to the point where it seems outlandish, but for someone like Sam it also makes a lot of sense that he really is that elite. The story as a whole is pretty interesting and relevant to our times, as it relies on the current geopolitical climate that enwraps the world in heightened fears of terrorism and subversion. Edmondson excels at the espionage tales and his work with both the dialogue and events in Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 are very well done. There's also a really interesting sequence of panels that showcases Sam's familiarity with his place, even in different missions; Edmondson really gets to the core of who Sam is in the book.

Most of the games in the Splinter Cell saga thrive in the dark and thankfully Laming doesn't dwell too long in the shadows. His characters are realistic in their appearance and keep the reader engaged with the high-stakes game playing out in Edmondson's script. Most of the facial expressions come across as pretty emotionless which makes sense considering the underlying gravity of the book. And while the book doesn't really spend all that much time in extremely dark settings, the inks used for the book skew darker in general, which blur some of the details in the characters and their clothing.

Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 is a very intriguing book that takes place between Splinter Cell Conviction and Splinter Cell Blacklist in a way that feels like it really is a story that exists in that universe. Sam Fisher is effectively introduced to new readers as something of a black ops legend, while readers familiar with him are reacquainted with his skills and feel right at home with his missions. Edmondson's tale is crafted very well and is full of all the espionage that comes with a Splinter Cell story. The book even has the look of a game in the series, with Laming doing a great job of lending some photorealistic touches to the characters and settings. Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 is very accessible to new and familiar readers and it's a book that's definitely worth checking out.

Splinter Cell: Echoes #1 is in stores July 2 with interiors below.