Writer Joshua Williamson and artist Sergio Sandoval keep the tone of this adventure comic lighthearted and punctuated with enough thrills to make this standalone volume a worthwhile read for fans of the Playstation 3 video game trilogy and adventure fiction aficionados alike. By no means essential reading, UNCHARTED was a sufficiently entertaining diversion from my super-hero dominated trade paperback stack.
In UNCHARTED, explorer Nathan Drake embarks on a quest for the legendary Amber Room, partnered by series favourites Victor Sullivan and Chloe Frazer. The narrative is at its best when Drake is exploring ancient caves, crossing rickety bridges, and dodging booby traps. Unfortunately the lead-up to this adventuring is a fairly standard, convoluted affair, consisting of backstabbing, rather humdrum revelations, and our hapless hero uttering the word ‘Crap’ every time he’s facing down the barrel of a gun – which occurred a few too many times over the course of the five issues.
The climax consists of a stunning series of events, but the insufficient buildup means it lacks the punch it should have had. Whatever my gripes with the plot, Williamson’s dialogue is pitch perfect; he nails Sullivan’s dry wit, and Drake’s overt sarcasm, but the script never once feels overwritten – Williamson allows his artist, Sandoval, plenty of room for expression, and large, dynamic panels, and boy does he take advantage. Sandoval’s art is very clean, and each character is recognizable without the slightest overtone of manic tracing; the final chapter, which I won’t spoil here, is astonishing, as artist, inker and colourist unite to create a wonderfully energetic sequence.
Willimason and Sandoval demonstrate the potential of adventure comics in the modern era, and have whetted my appetite for more. You don’t need to be a gamer to enjoy UNCHARTED; so long as you’re able to forgive a few early contrivances, you’ll get a kick out of it.