‘If you love the game, you’ll get something out of this, but I’m not sure what’ – DMC: Devil May Cry – The Chronicles of Vergil by Izu and Patrick Pion

dmccoviOkay. Just so you know: Devil May Cry is a popular-ish hack and slash game (I say ‘popular-ish’ as it’s sold millions of copies but that does not necessarily mean it’s the best game in the history of the world). I haven’t played it – but that isn’t to say I don’t play games. I do. I can see their attraction. I can even understand – just about – how their reach extends to films and graphic novels and the like. Big business being what it is (‘hey, this thing sells millions of copies! can we extend its reach into other media forms?!?’) and culture being what it is (‘if we paid you, mr struggling hack, lots of money, could you do something with this?’), product is inevitable.

What isn’t necessarily inevitable is the dreck that gets produced. A couple of years ago, Brian Evenson (who is a terrific writer, who produces exhilarating short stories and novels) turned his hand to a novelisation of the game Dead Space, which was worth a read (again, within certain parameters). You employ a credible artist to take a game as a jumping off point, you can look forward to something interesting. Possibly. Alternatively, if you bank on your customers being brain dead idiots who will buy anything, and you produce plankton you expect them to consume – well, in that case you’ll get dreck. Which is what we have with DMC: Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil.

dmccov1Things to know: DMC: Devil May Cry: The Chronicles of Vergil is largely incoherent. I don’t know if a working dmccov2knowledge of the game will add a veneer of coherency to proceedings but as a product that could (if it was good enough) entice people into playing the game, it fails. Proceedings open in the Virility Factory Basement in Limbo – there is a set-to involving a cheek-boned, white-eyed haircut and an enormous human-faced spider. The next page skips a year and we find ourselves in the Hellfire Prison in the human world – there are more battles, this time soldiers and a sort of enormous mutated Green Goblin. Much terrible dialogue is spoken. Over the page, we are in the human world ‘today’ (with not much idea of how much distance there is between the ‘one year on’ and ‘today’). A soda drink is being sold. A young woman with a Harry Potter-ish scar on her head is transported momentarily into a confrontation with a monkey-faced demon who hangs suspended in the sky like one of the vampires from Salem’s Lot. There is a terrible explosion. The woman wakes up in a prison cell talking to a man with a metal face mask who it turns out is Dante, the white eyed gent we met at the start of the book. Dante tells us he is the son of a demon. Yawn.

The art is of the glossy digital variety that you see in a lot of DC comics these days. The dialogue is, as I’ve said, terrible. The plotting is rudimentary and clumsy. If you have ever played a game that you know to be less than top notch, you’ll recognise the crude ways in which imagery and superficial characterisation are played out in such a fashion as to create a sort of jigsaw-with-lost-pieces feel. It may be (and I’d be surprised if this is the case but hey ho) that if you love the game, you’ll get something out of this, but I’m not sure what. But what do I know? Capcom and Titan have already commissioned a prequel follow-up which is available online right now. The long and the short of it is, though, if you are interested in comics, you can give this one a miss. If you’re writing a thesis about the relationship between games and comics you might want to tentatively peer at the pages, but just bear in mind that it’s all a bit soulless and empty and you’ll come away feeling like you’ve done something you should be ashamed of.

Any Cop?:  Frankly, no.


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