Hawken: Genesis

Writers and artists: Various

Archaia, $19.95, color

This graphic "novel" consists of a group of short stories that explain and explicate the world of the Hawken videogame, and everything in this book takes place before the events and play of the game.

I have never played Hawken, nor will I ever, so take that into account when I say: Whew. Glad that's over.

This book gives you a lot of information about the Hawken world, and how it came about.

Which is this: In the future where space travel is commonplace and Earth is a resource-exhausted, corporation-dominated, overpopulated Blade Runner kinda place, a world is discovered that has enormous natural resources, and Earth government has given four corporations open season on it. Two of them operate as you'd expect, another unleashes a terrible thing, and we know next to nothing about the fourth.

The two competing corporations have black-budget mechanized fighting forces in open war with each other for the Hawken world resources (that's the first-person shooter part of the game). Meanwhile, the third corporation''s "terrible thing" is a nanovirus that is doing a Techno-Virus number (see: Marvel, Phalanx) on the whole planet, which puts a clock on the play. And we know nothing at all about the fourth corporation's activities, which I assume also comes into play in the videogame.

Incidentally, Hawken is a person, and we learn why his ideas kinda frame the game, and why he's important to the game -- and why he's dead at the beginning of the game. "His" story is really that of his best friend, who is using Hawken's science to progress the advantages of one of the corporations at the beginning of the game.

Got all that? Because I read it all, and regurgitated it for you, without having any idea if Hawken is a good game or not, or if I'd like playing it. And with that stipulation I'd like to say: Yuch. This was a crapload of exposition for a game I'll never play, and it was a chore to plow through it. It's a bunch of short stories by different artists and writers, so some of it's good and some of it's bad, but all of it is in service to setting up a complicated world that I don't care about. So I hated reading this.

But, hey, maybe you're a Hawken player, and maybe this will be good for you. I don't know. Maybe even if you ARE a Hawken player, you will still find this as irritating and irrelevant as I did. Or not! I don't know, nor will I ever.

Because if, like me, you don't play Hawken and never will, this is a tediouis exercise in establishing and exploring a world you'll never visit.

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