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By TronFAQ on Thursday, April 27, 2006 at 2:57 PM
While I have tried to keep them to a minimum, this article contains spoilers about the first issue of the TRON: The Ghost In the Machine comic. So if you haven't read the comic yet, you may want to stop reading this!

Lo and behold, today I have in my grubby little paws the first issue of the new TRON comic! After being in development hell for at least two years, a TRON comic has finally been released. And what a comic, it is!

I was actually surprised that the local comic store had it in stock on the release date, since I live in Canada. But it turns out the comic is printed here, so that's good news to me.

My first impression on seeing the comic, was just how slick and beautiful it is. The book has a gorgeous cover, and is printed with high quality ink and glossy paper. This is a book that's been crafted with care, and it shows.

I do have a couple of minor nits to pick with the cover, though. First, considering the comic is printed in Canada: why isn't there a Canadian price on the cover? (The U.S. price is $3.50.) Second, it mentions "Inspired by the Classic Film and Hit Video Game": but nowhere in the comic does it actually talk about that game, mentioning it by name. That game being, of course, TRON 2.0. (Though there is a brief reference I'll get to, later.) A bit disappointing. Especially considering the story of the comic is largely based on the game.

When first opening the book, you're greeted with a foreword written by the authors, Landry Walker and Eric Jones. It's an interesting read: meant to help introduce the world of TRON to those who may have picked up the book on an impulse, and are perhaps new to the story of TRON.

What's interesting about it, is it makes some speculative conclusions about story threads in the film and game, that were never completely explained. Like the nature of the MCP and Dillinger's involvement in creating it, more hints as to what happened to Flynn, and so on. What surprised me about it, is a lack of mention about the fact that Alan Bradley created TRON. I feel it's one essential story element, that should have been included as well.

Last chance! Spoilers start here!

Upon flipping through the pages of the book, you'll really come to appreciate the artwork by Louie De Martinis. He's done an incredible job. In fact, if you compare early samples, to his work in the book . . . there's a dramatic improvement from some of those earlier drawings. For example, I voiced some concerns on TRON-Sector about the way Jet Bradley had been drawn in the early samples -- that he looked too old -- but the final result in this issue is exactly what I was hoping to see.

The story starts with something very strange going on in the electronic world . . . a backup of Jet is restored and executes! Hence the "Ghost" in the title of the comic. (Or is it that simple?) How can a backup of a User even exist? This is a question we're going to have to wait for, to be answered.

We then switch to the real Jet, who is haunted by his experiences inside the computer. He's completely distanced himself from any and all technology. His father Alan, is concerned about him. Unlike Jet, Alan has not been affected by his similar experiences inside.

As I've said before, the idea of Jet being troubled by his experiences seems to clash with the end of the TRON 2.0 game. At no point did Jet appear stressed-out by what was happening to him, and in fact joked about what had happened. You could argue that he was showing bravado to hide his real feelings, but it just seems odd that Jet is actually the one having problems. Meanwhile, Alan was obviously shaken by his experiences in the game's story: yet here in the comic he's pretty calm and collected. I hope there's a better explanation for this situation, in future issues.

Speaking of Alan, unfortunately the likeness of him isn't too close to Bruce Boxleitner. (I feel Alan in TRON 2.0 looks a bit closer to Bruce, than he does here.) But I really wasn't expecting any different. If he looked exactly like Bruce, they'd have to pay for the right to use his likeness. Ah, the joys of showbiz. Oh, but a nice touch: Alan is visiting Jet in what appears to be his son's apartment . . . and that apartment happens to be the loft in Flynn's Arcade.

In the image to the left, is the only reference to TRON 2.0 by name in the entire comic. It also seems to imply that Alan has finally completed a new version of his TRON security program, based on the TRON Legacy code. So perhaps TRON will actually put in an appearance at some point?

As the story progresses, Jet finds himself in trouble with the police. And he doesn't even know the reason why they want him.

Jet eludes the police, and heads to Encom to meet his father. When he gets there, he views a security video that now totally shatters his life. The video seems to prove that he has committed a terrible crime. But did he really do it? What's going on? Did someone else actually do it, or is Jet losing his mind? Again, more questions than answers here. Which is good . . . it means plenty to look forward to in future issues. In my personal opinion, Jet did not commit the crime. Someone else did. I won't get more specific than that, though.

Viewing the video, prompts Jet to ask Ma3a to digitize him again. He's decided to enter the electronic world, once more. Despite his misgivings. The only little thing that bothered me in this part, is the dialogue Jet has with Ma3a. Ma3a and Jet had established a close relationship by the end of the game, but here they talk as if they hardly know each other. The conversation should have had more of a personal touch, since they know each other so well by now. For Ma3a to issue coldly logical statements such as "unable to comply", is a bit strange to read.

In the final moments of the book: when Jet appears in the electronic world, he meets another program right away. There's been a lot of speculation already, as to who this program is. My money is on "not Mercury". If you look at the cover of the comic, you'll see Mercury . . . who looks very little like this character. Who is it then? I'd say it's someone's name mentioned in one of the pictures in this article. :)

Spoilers end here!

Last little nitpicks . . . as Landry has already said on TRON-Sector, the Letterer's name is missing from the credits, on the inside front cover. Also, there are no page numbers. (Conscious choice?)

So, the final verdict? This first issue of the TRON comic is utterly fantastic. If you don't have it, run out to the store and buy it now! As I mentioned in a previous article: you can also get it from Amazon.com HERE, and directly from SLG Publishing HERE, if there isn't a local comic store in your area.
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3 comments so far.

  1. TronFAQ May 04, 2006 7:36 PM
    I see that SLG Publishing posted about this review on their LiveJournal blog.

    Just wanted to thank them for the mention! Hope the comic is a big success for you guys.

    And thanks to Landry, for putting up with me on TRON-Sector. :)
  2. Anonymous May 17, 2006 8:16 PM
    I believe the next issue is due out in July..

  3. TronFAQ May 17, 2006 11:59 PM
    Already got it covered. :)

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