Throughout the course of this year, Titan Comics released Deus Ex: Children’s Crusade. The five-part episodic series followed the catastrophic finale of Human Revolution and focused specifically on the aftermath of the Aug Incident. The series explored the strained relationships between humans and augs, and at the same time rallied excitement for the series’ newest release Mankind Divided.
I reviewed these comics individually, and while the story and artwork were commendable, Children’s Crusade was held back by certain pacing issues. Since then, Titan Comics have released a collection featuring all five issues of Children’s Crusade, as well as certain bonus content. The collection doesn’t feature a wealth of new material – in fact, it barely features any at all – but the uninterrupted bundled collection solves most of the pacing issues that arose from episodic release.
For those who haven’t kept up with the comics, the story focuses around a group of Aug-terrorists. Their ultimate aim is to expose the dark history of famous television broadcaster and notorious anti-aug-spokesperson, Titus King. While these intentions aren’t intrinsically evil, the group is undoubtedly misguided. Through the use of augmented child soldiers, these extremists cause several instances of calamity: mass death and destruction.
Adam Jensen, the protagonist of Human Revolution, takes the central role in the comics. Following the events of Human Revolution, Adam joined Task Force 29 – a newly formed division of Interpol, specifically created to target organised crime and terrorism. The comics revolve around the Task Force’s efforts to combat the aforementioned group of Aug-terrorists.
I won’t spoil the story here. But suffice to say that, in typical Deus Ex fashion, there’s a web of conspiracy and criss-crossing narratives. If you’re interested in the specifics, see the all-revealing reviews of the individual comics here. The series introduces a number of interesting characters: Macready, Titus King, and the young and troubled Emilia. And for the most part, the twists and turns of the Children’s Crusade narrative were exhilarating. However, I can’t help but think Children’s Crusade raised just as many questions as it answered. I suppose in this way, it’s set the scene perfectly for Mankind Divided.
Knowing how Deus Ex operates – that it’s not afraid to exclude outsiders – I’d say that some elements of these unanswered questions will be crucial in maximising your experience with Mankind Divided. And even if that’s not the case, Children’s Crusade is good enough to warrant indulgence. If you’ve already purchased these comics, steer clear of this collection. Everything you see here – short of a few Scan Codes for developer Q&A’s – you’ve seen in the individual releases. So really, there’s not enough new content to warrant a revisiting, let alone a repurchasing. But if you’re a fan of the series and you’re yet to experience in Children’s Crusade, here’s the place to start. These comics offer a stellar return to the Deus Ex universe. The cyberpunk ambience, the violence, the tension and the betrayal: it’s all here and it’s all in good shape. Definitely check this out.