Resident Evil: Code Veronica
Deserved a comic because: We're at a point where Resident Evil games will be getting made until the sun blossoms into Supernova and immolates us all. And while we'll be playing these games solely because findin' keys and shootin' zombies is dope, we'll continue trying to rationalize our addiction by pretending we care about the characters. We may as well read some comics to keep up the pretense!
Made the transition by: There have been a bunch of Resident Evil comics, the vast majority of them utterly terrible. Highlights include killer zombie walruses, a sympathetic, non-teammate-eating undead and the always-great gambit of rebooting the series… in space. About the only decent RE comic around is the Korean Code Veronica series, by virtue of only being as nuts as the game on which it was based.
Above: When bad writers get imaginative, disasters like Resident Evil: Fire and Ice happen
Why'd it work? When the Koreans decide to do a faithful adaptation, brother, they don't skimp on the “faithful.” Where an American team might send a wise-cracking punk-rocker and a bugger-me-cobber Australian stereotype to battle undead polar bears in Alaska, the Code Veronica comic hews to a strict policy of “take everything in the game and make it look cool on paper.” Which, it turns out, is exactly what Resi needs.
Gears of War
Deserved a comic because: Um... it didn't. Sure, Gears moved plenty of 360s, but Zool the Ninja Ant sold systems, and we don't give him a comic book. Gears has its priorities sorted and makes no bones about it: it's got a scant story, minimal characterization, and that's the way it likes it. That's a great recipe for a kickass game, but only the stuffiest cynic would suggest that it's how we get good comics.
Made the transition by: Inexplicably being pretty great. Whereas Gears the game dragged during cutscenes then picked up the pace when chainsawin' time rolled round, Gears the comic's quiet moments boast cool dialogue, a well-paced story and sequences that aren't just “good, for a tie-in"… they're just plain great comics writing. Also the explosions look like a million bucks, which never hurts.
Why'd it work? Instead of rehashing ground covered in the games, the Gears comic book chose to explore the undocumented gap between playable installments. With no obligation to include details that gamers had already uncovered anyway, authors Joshua Ortega and Liam Sharp were able to go nuts with the comic's story, knowing it would only pique players' interest in the next game.