Tron: Betrayal Paperback
Writer: Jai Nitz
Pencils: Andie Tong and Jeff Matsuda
Inks: Pete Pantazis
Release Date: November 16, 2010
In the nearly thirty years between the events of Tron and Tron: Legacy, a lot has happened in Kevin Flynn’s life. Legacy gives the viewer all the basic information needed to understand and enjoy the events that take place, but for those who want the whole story, Tron: Betrayal gives you that and much more.
Kevin Flynn is a man torn between two worlds. In the real world he is the head of ENCOM, a Fortune 500 corporation, and a father-to-be. He is also the creator of a digital world that has undergone some drastic change in its short existence. The program TRON helps to keep order and security in the grid while Flynn is gone, but the expanding world needs more than just order. The amount of attention needed in both worlds has run Flynn down, so he creates CLU, a program in his own image to run the grid in his stead. CLU is charged by Flynn with creating “the perfect system” and he takes this task very seriously, going to extreme lengths to ensure its success. As a divide begins between CLU and Flynn’s definition of perfection, Flynn’s real-world responsibilities keep him away from the grid for longer periods of time than usual. The division between the grid’s creator and its supervisor is reaching a boiling point, all while Flynn is trying to raise his newborn son and still maintain an active role at ENCOM.
If you’ve seen Tron: Legacy, you know how all of this turns out. Betrayal does not give you any major plot information, but what it does do is put perspective on the characters’ motivations. Flynn and CLU are both obsessed with perfection, and they take divergent paths to achieve their goals.
Writer Jai Nitz weaves a commentary on human history throughout Flynn and CLU’s exploits, comparing the rise of the grid’s identity with that of ancient Rome, shading in warnings of Rome’s eventual downfall. A suitable metaphor, as the grid’s population becomes more decadent with each cycle. The grid and its inhabitants are given a fresh look on each page, thanks to Andie Tong and Jeff Matsuda‘s penciling and Pete Pantazis‘ inking. There is a clear distinction between the real world’s brown and beige tones, and the greens and blues used to give the grid the luminescent quality showcased in the films.
If you love the characters that comprise the Tron franchise, Tron: Betrayal is a welcome addition to the canon. Stand alone, the story is engrossing enough, especially for anyone who has struggled to find a balance between two facets of their everyday life. Combined with the two films, Betrayal adds a deeper element to Flynn and CLU’s struggle, and a new chapter in the history of the grid.