Believe it or not, there was a time when I thought Army of Two was poised to be a force to be reckoned with in the realm of co-op gaming.
As evidenced by both the first and second games’ vanilla gameplay, obvious technical flaws, and tiresome usage of “bro-iness” in place of characterization; the franchise pretty much failed to live up to any of the promise I saw in it.
Despite poor reviews, I actually bought the first Army of Two, almost entirely due to the impressive nature of the character designs.
I don’t know about you, but if you ask me, the tactical armor+mask combo that Salem and Rios wear are some of the more iconic designs the of past half decade.
Seriously man, if you ever go to any airsoft meet, I guarantee you there’ll be at least one kid wearing one of their masks.
In many ways, the character designs blinded me to what I knew, deep down, was little more than a mediocre third-person shooter.
That being said, I ended up picking up a copy of “Dirty Money” in anticipation of the games’ release.
…And because it was on sale on Amazon.
Why It Sucks:
Army of Two: Dirty Money isn’t necessarily a shitty comic, it’s just incredibly bland.
In nearly every element of it’s composition, there’s a niggling sense of vanilla-ness that just sucks the fun out of what could’ve been a decent military conspiracy comic.
The art by Brandon McKinney is actually pretty good, but indistinct and poorly reproduced so as to muddy the colors and actually pixelate the text.
While I’d love to show you some examples of said mediocrity, all images of the book’s interior seemed to be buried in the internet, as I can’t find any scans of it.
If that’s not a sign of crappiness, I don’t know what is.
The plot is your run of the mill military/revenge thriller stuff, with a double-crossing phantom of the past (a past introduced to the franchise solely within the context of this comic) reemerging to tangle with our heroes in the present.
The real problem with “Dirty Money,” is the horrendously “bro-ish” dialogue penned by John Ney Rieber.
I know it was a conscious decision of the designers of the Army of Two game to make both Salem and Rios foul-mouthed, high-fiving bro’s of the highest degree; likely in the hopes of reeling in the A.D.D-afflicted UFC/Spike TV demographic, but in written form, their dialogue just doesn’t work.
In the game, most of the annoying and ludicrous bro-isms are used as asides, sound bites that only occur intermittently.
In “Dirty Money,” bro-isms aren’t just used as asides to the action, they make up virtually every exchange of dialogue between our 2 heroes.
That’s like 80% of the fuckin’ book!
Seriously man, any book that includes the use of the terms, “Eat Me” and “bro” within it’s first page is one that takes pride in it’s bro-iness and doesn’t give 2 shits about whether you like it or not.
Potentially worse than the palpable nature of “Dirty Money’s” bro-osity though, is it’s excessive use of profanity.
I don’t mind swearing, in fact I do quite a bit of it myself; but the way the characters in “Dirty Money” let ‘em fly would make even the saltiest of potty-mouthed sailors blush in embarrassment.
Virtually every speech bubble in the book has a 4-letter word of some sort, and if I recall correctly, I seem to remember Rios referring to someone as an “asswipe.”
I don’t know about you, but battle-scarred, Vin Diesel-esque bro-hemoths aren’t exactly the people I picture tossing around schoolyard terms like “asswipe.”
Then again, I pretty much described exactly the type of dudes I tend to avoid in my daily life, so I’m not exactly drawing from a great deal of life experience in this regard.
All in all, “Dirty Money” pretty much lives up to the standard of the game it serves as a prequel to in the sense that it’s bland and lacking in most regards, and completely without depth or substance.
Is It Still Worth Reading Anyway?:
“Dirty Money” was published by Prima Games, (a publisher of strategy guides) likely on the cheap and in short order, and it shows in virtually every regard.
Like most licensed comics, “Dirty Money” was likely produced for the purposes of cross-media promotion, however in this case, Army of Two was as a particularly weak source material, and a comic of said franchise was a very poor choice of medium.
Put it all together, and you have a lame comic that is constantly winking at you with the fact that it’s based off a game, but fails to hide the fact that said game is a piece of crap.
They got my money with all the pre-release hype, and I’m still kicking myself over it, but without all that to suck you in; there’s really no reason for an intelligent human being to ever pick up a copy of “Dirty Money.”
That is, unless the clip below describes an act you’ve performed on others at some point in your life: