Love maybe too strong of a word to describe how I feel about this book but it is one of my favourites in my collection. It’s big, made of wood, stiff and takes while to sink in. Wait, what!? The rear end tells us what’s inside:
For the last fifteen years, Valve has made a name for itself with groundbreaking video games like Half-Life, Portal and Team fortress. Now, the legendary studio teams up with Dark Horse to take on a whole new medium, with a collection of comics from the world of three critically acclaimed, fan-favorite series: Left 4 Dead, Team Fortress 2 and Portal 2.
From the undead apocalypse of Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice, to the tongue-in-check adventure yarns of Team Fortress2, to the science-fiction dystopia of Portal 2: Lab Rat, Valve Presents: The Sacrifice and Other Steam-Powered Stories is a must-read for Valve fans and newcomers alike!
That should pad out the article a bit (yes I can and I will), so be patient and I’ll try and describe this mammoth of a comic book in some kind of sensicle manner. There will be blood… and spoilers.
Left 4 Dead: The Sacrifice.
First we are thrown straight into the world of zombies with Left 4 Dead. A four parter that pretty much takes up half the book which is not a bad thing. Our favourite zombie killing quartet (Bill, Zoey, Luis and Francis) are back and comically badass as ever.
The story starts with the foursome (hehehe foursome) trapped in a house waiting for a rescue vehicle, surrounded by zombies. For those that have played the game, this is the house from the end of the ‘Blood Harvest’ level.
Straight away the humour hits you. As the team run for the rescue vehicle we are treated to; “Francis, hurry!” “Hold on! I gotta give this zombie the finger.” This banter and humour between Luis and Francis continues throughout the story and is a joy to read. As an extra treat a little backstory is revealed for each character, a small and interesting insight into what the heroes were doing in Philadelphia 2 days after first infection, something that is never explored in the games.
The Sacrifice is also in the form as DLC for the game and one of the achievements should give you a clue on how the story ends.
Bill dies (I told you there would be spoilers).
If you’re cheap and don’t want to pay for this great comic book, The Sacrifice is available online for free. A must read for Left 4 Dead and comic book fans alike.
This for me was my least favourite section of the book so I won’t linger on it too long. The various tales were entertaining but some bloke named Saxon Hale popped up a few times and just annoyed the living shit out of me. I could see what the writer(s) were trying to do with the character but it was just not funny to me. Again you can view it for free online.
Portal 2: Lab Rat.
This is the shortest but by far my favourite of the three. The art style alone will keep me coming back to this orgasm inducing eye candy.
I am a huge Portal fan, I’ve completed the Portal 2 campaign numerous times because of the fantastically well written characters, humour and gameplay. And finally we are introduce to Rat Man, the person responsible for the hidden rooms scattered throughout the two Portal games. As a former Aperture scientist, Rat Man has managed to escape the tormenting testing overseen by GlaDos, but his sanity is in question. He is accompanied by a companion cube with whom he often converses, and this reminds me of Chuck’s relationship with Wilson in the movie Cast Away. Still with some cognitive control he, unknowingly to Chell, helps activate her life support when she is recaptured at the end of the first game and so filling in some story details between the two.
I cannot recommend this story highly enough, it’s beautifully drawn and I’m tempted to buy two more copies of the book so I can display the whole story on my living room wall. There is no excuse not to check this out as you can see it now, online. Enjoy.
This book is available now and is a must buy even though you can view all the above free online. I still love the feel of a book in my hands and this is one mighty, thick paged monster. I hope Valve keep up the good work with their great games and fantastic fiction.