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Old 08-22-2019, 02:21 PM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Smile This Sacred Land Review

This Sacred Land, Part 1
Robert Brooks

"This Sacred Land, Part 1," is a new StarCraft comic released along with the first phase of the fifth War Chest. As comics go, remarkably little happens in its eight pages, so there's not much to analyze. The story feels like it's being stretched to fill the space -- and maybe it is. The early pages in particular resist categorization under distinct main ideas, with page breaks falling in the middle of summary-level plot events instead of around them. Then again, this could just as easily be a deliberate design decision by Brooks to smooth the page transitions of what's effectively a single scene.
  1. Arrive at Bel'shir, foreshadow Stetmann (5)
  2. Tal'darim attack (4)
  3. Ship going down (5)
  4. Land on Bel'shir (5)
  5. Find science lab (6)
  6. Surrounded standoff (7)
  7. Meet Gary (5)
  8. Meet Stetmann (5)
However, the biggest thing that sticks out is the absence of character names in the dialogue. Is Brooks holding them back for some reason? It's usually considered good practice across all media to drop characters' names as soon as possible because having a name helps the audience to bond with them. Perhaps "This Sacred Land" was written as a single unit and then split in three. Thus, the protagonist trio was intended to be named when they introduced themselves to Stetmann, and an oversight occurred in the division process. While it's also possible one or more of them is a known character being concealed, they all seem like new characters so far.

Would-be writers should pay attention to how Brooks tells us, without ever saying so, that our ghost is bitter about someone left behind. He's so busy stewing about it that he neglects what's presumably his purpose on the mission: to scan for Tal'darim, whom Raynor encountered on Bel'shir before. Then again, one wouldn't expect to be hit mere seconds after arrival. Those phoenixes must have been very lucky. One wonders, though, why the crew wasn't briefed on the possibility of Tal'darim attack. They seem completely surprised to find a base there -- despite Bel'shir being one of the few sources of terrazine. Maybe they're the ones who are crazy. They do meet a strange robot and immediately ask it to lead them somewhere. (I kid, of course. Such plot conveniences are the norm in comics.)

Because so little happens in Part 1, there's not much new lore revealed. Stetmann's insanity is now canon -- but given the popularity of the idea, it was just about inevitable. With a little more thought, however, the implications of terrazine making non-psychics into psychics could be a game-changer going forward. Just think: it's possible to make anyone into a spectre. And, if terrazine insanity drove Stetmann to create and control zerg, does that say something about its origin and purpose? Or is it more that it drives its victims to become whatever they most fear?

In any case, I look forward to Part 2. It stands to reason there's a war in progress on Bel'shir, and that means we'll be setting up stetellites and charging the egonergy to make it happen. After all, there are three kinds of enemies who are always morally permissible to kill: Nazis, zombies, and Tal'darim.

Side note: Orphea got four comics to introduce a character with no prior exposure. Qhira gets...nothing?
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