What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Overwatch: Tracer – London Calling #1! I gotta say I was taken by surprise when Blizzard and Dark Horse Comics announced this one. I mean, why not? If anyone was going to get a comic like this, it would have to be their mascot character, Tracer. The one character in Overwatch who shows the most passion towards being a hero. Off the bat, I was happy just seeing that Mariko Tamaki was writing this one because she has done a wonderful job in the past with books involving female leads.
As with most first issues, it only made sense that they would make this welcoming for everyone. A small introduction to Tracer, and the present situation in the world. You could say that some of the information we got is well-known, but the honest truth is that there are many gamers out there who will play a game like Overwatch and have zero idea as to what it’s about. Trust me, I’ve seen the horrors of those who believe it doesn’t count if it isn’t a story told directly within the game.
Now when they decided to tell this story was an interesting choice. This could have easily been a book where they decided to tell a story more focused on a current timeline, but here they were focusing on a time where it wasn’t in anyone’s best interest to be caught performing heroics. You know, as with most stories when it comes to Overwatch. I will give credit where it is due that they have consistently taken the creative approach towards building their world by allowing us to understand the present, by understanding the past first. For Lena aka. Tracer, this worked perfectly. Unlike others, she was never one to slow down. Even after the ratification of the Petras Act. The first scene kicked off by showing us exactly what a regular day is like for her. She may not have been Tracer, but for someone like her there was always going to be a need for heroes. That is despite the risk this brings to her if she were caught doing anything which made people think Overwatch was being reformed.
What I think most will appreciate about this issue is the fact that they also take the time to show Tracer just being Lena in her own home. This has always been an important part of getting to know Tracer. Not just because she has a unique set-up to live without needing the device on her torso, but because she is also an LGBTQ character. And it matters to show that kind of representation in a natural setting.
The nest takeaway from this so far has been our exploration of the Underground. This is something you always hear about in passing, but there has never been an opportunity to actually go down there and see how the Omnics lived. It was all very enlightening too, because there’s a big difference between knowing and having a visual to now see things for yourself. It was easy to share in the same reaction as Tracer who had no idea this kind of suffering existed. That said, our introduction to the punk-rock omnic named Iggy was awesome. It’s not often that we will get to run into an Omnic like Iggy who has a bright personality.You could easily forget she was a machine by the way she interacted with Tracer.
Beyond this, I was impressed by the interior work for this book. When it comes to a book like this, the quality of the interior artwork matters. It is a dealbreaker if you can’t flip to the first page and not find that there is anything visually appealing. Comics adapted from games have the tendency of being hit or miss depending on the artist involved, or the publisher chosen. Fortunately for everyone this is again both Blizzard and Dark Horse Comics. Two who care about their franchises catching the right attention. It was solid work from Babs Tarr, as they nailed the cartoonish personality of Tracer. In other words, her expressiveness and her energy. When I say her energy, I also mean her body language which matched what you would expect from someone you would call a speedster. I should point out too that it was cool seeing the different changes in attire she goes through as someone who tends to mostly need that device on her.
In the end, Overwatch: Tracer – London Calling #1 is worth giving a shot. This book opens us up to a corner of the world of Overwatch that you probably won’t get to explore anywhere else.