Review - Crackdown #1 (@DynamiteComics)

"Skills for kills!"

The original Crackdown for Xbox brought with it two things: superpowered crime fighters and an invite to the Halo 3 beta. While the vast majority of players bought the game for the latter, the former proved to be quite intriguing and worked really well. Now, over a decade later Microsoft has released Crackdown 3 which ties in nicely with Crackdown #1 from Dynamite Comics. The issue is written and lettered by Jonathan Goff, illustrated by Ricardo Jaime and colored by Natalia Marques.

In the not-so-distant future, civilized society is more plugged-in and interconnected than ever - but criminal organizations are growing more connected as well, forming unholy alliances, and plotting for an unprecedented campaign against the world. When a series of devastating blackout attacks plunge major metropolitan areas into darkness and chaos, the global population is terrified, traditional law enforcement is overwhelmed - and it's up to The Agency, an elite international crime-fighting task force, to restore peace and deliver justice, by any means necessary.

The core of what makes Crackdown tick are the Agents who are infused with superpowers and sport the latest in crimefighting technology. It's a fact that's not lost on Goff, considering the entire issue is predicated on conveying this premise to the reader and extolling its virtues in the face of the savage gangs the Agents go up against. The majority of the issue lays the groundwork for the core concept, with Goff elaborating in quite detail the aforementioned abilities by running a team of Agents into a lion's den of criminals. Much of the issue is told from a narrative point of view with Goff adding little embellishments like heads-up display readings and intersquad chatter, both of which make the issue feel as if one's playing the game itself. And the end of the issue is actually a pretty clever twist in that it looks at the notion of the Agents without all the fancy tools at their disposal.

Jaime illustrates the book with a clear nod to superheroes which makes sense considering the Agents themselves are heralded as such. Each Agent sports a similar uniform of sorts, but Jamie gives them very distinct looks that makes it easier for the reader to discern who's who and what's what. Considering the entire issue is essentially one frenetic mission, Jaime does well to keep things as organized as possible, primarily through quite a few two-page spreads and panels stacked on panels. The spreads are a little difficult to enjoy fully in a digital form, but the general sense of pride and stature of the Agents is on display in quite a few triumphant team shots. Marques chose colors that are very much in the realms of black and blues that fit in with the concept of the war between the Agents and criminals.

Crackdown #1 is really everything you'd expect a comic tied into the game to be: bombast and adventure. The Agents find themselves facing a new foe by the end of the issue that they're not entirely prepared for, but they'll likely manage. Goff's script is very much in-tune with the game universe and captures much of what makes the games so enjoyable. Jaime's artwork is a solid fit for the book tonally in that it effectively captures the mayhem. Crackdown #1 should definitely be given a read if you're looking to immerse yourself further in the Crackdown universe.

Crackdown #1 is available February 20.