Blizzard’s StarCraft franchise is one of the most beloved entries in the FPS genre, and its enduring success led to many different media products to build out an expanded universe, most notably DC Comics’ own series made as a promotional series as part of the build-up to the release of StarCraft 2. How has it aged and was it “real” StarCraft? Here’s what we’ve found when digging into the series which was abandoned midway through its run.
Starcraft fandom: crying out for comics and more
The fanbase’s enduring loyalty to the franchise needs no introduction, as evidenced by the incredible player interest even eleven years after the game’s release in July 2010 and the cessation of its continued development in October 2020, with future updates “as needed” going forward.
Even with no StarCraft 3 in sight and not even hints dropped by Blizzard on the subject, interest in the game and its competitive scene (both in the form of impressive viewer numbers and increasing interest in StarCraft betting).
It only goes to show the ferocious interest in everything StarCraft on part of the community, which ties us neatly into the curious case of DC Comics’ very own SC2 venture, a comic series from Wildstorm.
What was the DC/Wildstorm StarCraft 2 comic about?
The official summary (captured by the wiki as the page itself is unfortunately no longer available) reads as such:
“From the bestselling Blizzard computer game comes the most explosive sci-fi action comic ever created! Join the War Pigs, a disbanded team of outlaws reunited by their former captain for one last job: the assassination of Jim Raynor!”
The series’ original run was meant to bridge the gap in the timeline between the original StarCraft and its sequel, the events of which take place four years after Brood War. Raynor remains a key part of the franchise’s complicated storyline throughout, so it is quite evident from the beginning that the War Pigs’ mission will not be a success.
Instead, the goal of the comic is to establish the War Pigs as interesting independent characters of their own, outlaws essentially coerced into this task by the villain of the piece, which makes the buildup to their eventual confrontation with Jim Raynor still interesting to follow, even if its outcome is essentially preordained.
Still, perhaps this typical issue of prequel storylines (meaning that certain elements are already set in stone) served as the eventual downfall of the property, as its second run was abandoned midway through by DC Comics, by which time the game it was meant to promote was already released and wildly successful.
The mainly Terran-focused storyline was meant to run for twelve issues, with a new tale told in a second arc, no longer focusing on the War Pigs. Instead, the series was canceled seven issues in, with their confrontation with Raynor serving as the abrupt end of the tale. With the two sides stranded on a Protoss-assaulted planet, an old score gets settled among the War Pigs, and with it, both sides get rescued from Uroma Sigma, parting ways in what’s a fairly tame resolution of their conflict.
Ultimately, the comic fits well with the StarCraft universe and even other established works of fiction like the Starcraft: Ghost book, but the storyline wasn’t strong enough to carry the series to its planned conclusion.
What other StarCraft comics were there?
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that this wasn’t the only comic book venture focused on the popular video game, with the main target demographics of the two fields meshing so well. In fact, there were multiple other comic properties revolving around the StarCraft franchise, some in-house, some external.
There’s Blizzard’s own Shadow Wars series from the Warchest, the Issue 0 special edition of the Wildstorm comic bundled as part of the StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty collector’s edition. Dark Horse’s Jody Houser helmed a series called Scavengers as late as 2018 with great initial critical reception, followed by Soldiers in 2019 and Survivors in 2020 as part of other limited-series runs to further grow Starcraft’s expanded universe.
Who knows what’s next for the franchise? Blizzard isn’t talking and they have many other things on their plate, but whenever they return to the series, it’s safe to say there will be a comic book of some sort involved.