The stories behind the stories

Mass Effect: Evolution #1

“Others were here first. This area is important — off limits to all species. You’re not welcome here.” — Desolas

“Evolution, Part 1”

A new series featuring the origin of our galaxy’s most mysterious powerbroker — The Illusive Man!
Published by Dark Horse • January 19, 2011
Written by John Jackson Miller

Story by Mac Walters

Art by Omar Francia

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Michael Atiyeh

Covers by Massimo Carnevale and Joe Quinones

Edited by David Marshall and Brendan Wright

With the success of the Mass Effect: Redemption miniseries, I was commissioned to script a second series — this one a prequel featuring the origin of the Illusive Man, a character with an important role in the video games.

The same exact team was assembled from the first series, including Mac Walters from Bioware, providing the plots, and Omar Francia, our artist.

Early work on this series overlapped my own work on the Star Wars: Knight Errant novel, and I was greatly aided by T.M. Haley, my assistant during that time, who knew much about the time period being depicted. The First Contact War between the turians and the humans is the setting for the first issue — and in fact, the war ends between issues #1 and #2.

“You’ve studied us — now it’s our turn to study you!” — Desolas

The relic in the story, the Arca Monolith, serves a similar function — at least, we are led to believe early on — to the Monolith from Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. I later used Clarke’s Law as a touchpoint for character discussions in this series.

Desolas’ dialogue on the APC includes all the words used in the make message that Jack Harper constructs in the next scene. It’s a fun little gimmick.

We meet General Williams, grandfather of Ashley Williams from the game, here.

This issue includes the first appearance of a female turian. When we realized we had many turians to depict, it became necessary to obtain a design for a female turian from Bioware. Lieutenant Abrudas is the result.

Letterer Michael Heisler came up with a great design for the cloaked figures’ language.

Because this series fell between game releases, this was the only one of my three Mass Effect series not to be reprinted as a mini-comic for insertion in copies of the game.