Blizzard Entertainment's StarCraft supernova first erupted in the video-gaming world back in March 1998 and took the planet by storm with its real-time strategy sci-fi missions. Since its auspicious beginning, the popular franchise has blossomed into a small empire of sequels, expansion packs, tie-in novels, toys, card games, collector statues, and comic books.
Now, hot on the heels of last year's StarCraft: Scavengers, Dark Horse Comics will collaborate with Blizzard once more to expand upon and explore the entire StarCraft universe. SYFY WIRE has an exclusive peek inside this premiere issue along with some thoughts from its main scribe, Andrew R. Robinson.
StarCraft: Soldiers, blasting into stores Jan. 23, is written by Robinson (Overwatch Trilogy) and Jody Houser (Stranger Things, Star Wars: Thrawn) and matched with astonishing art from Miguel Sepulveda (The Thanos Imperative, Thunderbolts). Rounding out the creative team are colorist Michael Atiyeh (StarCraft: Scavengers, Blackest Night: The Flash) and letterer Steve Dutro (Web of Spider-Man).
The intense storyline follows the freshly graduated Lieutenant Shivani Singh, who yearns to defend the Dominion from the heart of the front lines. But after she's dispatched and deployed to the remote planet of Cavir, she quickly realizes it will take more than stellar grades and supreme confidence to survive the frontiers of Zerg space.
Robinson has intimate associations with StarCraft and joined Blizzard Entertainment in December of 2014. One of his earliest assignments was writing a script for one of the cinematics that helped to set up StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void.
"With nearly 20 years of game lore, there was a steep learning curve, but I was drawn into the epic stakes and space-opera nature of the story — not to mention the magnetic personalities of characters like Jim Raynor, Artanis, and Sarah Kerrigan," he explains to SYFY WIRE. "The complexity of all three space-faring societies also really drew me in. Since then, in addition to playing the game (horrendously!), I’ve participated in breaking story and writing for the War Chest: Shadow Wars comics, as well as the latest series of StarCraft comics that Blizzard has done in partnership with Dark Horse."
With the full-length Dark Horse monthly comics, the creators are spinning stories that take place after the events of Legacy of the Void, shifting focus away from the high-level characters who have been mainstays of the property for two decades.
"We’re approaching things from a more Terran-centric point of view; we’re expanding the universe and introducing more new characters who are just ordinary people, 'boots on the ground' who are trying to survive in a hostile universe," Robinson adds. "Each mini-arc is four issues of 22 pages, and the result is stories — and art — that have more room to develop."
As for our exclusive three-page sneak peek in the gallery below, Robinson points to a character’s distinct psychology and worldview, then pops them into a cosmic frying pan.
"This sequence shows our protagonist, newly graduated Lieutenant Shivani Singh, requesting to be placed in that crucible; in her naivete and hubris, she rejects a potentially cushy office job in favor of a tougher assignment on the front lines, because she’s bought into the propaganda that has dominated her culture since she was a kid," he notes. "And only as she arrives at her assignment does she get the first glimmer of doubt — that 'be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it in spades' moment."
"We’re trying to answer the question of how 'regular folks' would react to being informed that Terrans are no longer at war with the Protoss and Zerg," he explains. "Would they accept that? Or would they continue to believe that the only good Zerg is a dead Zerg, and that the Protoss are terrifying and unknowable and must be destroyed? With this particular arc, we want to tell a soldier’s coming-of-age story in the harshest of environments. And I hope the characters, the situations, and the storytelling are compelling enough that fans will take them to heart and want more."
Dark Horse Comics' StarCraft: Soldiers #1 hits stores on Jan. 23.