If you were a fan of the recent Tron: Legacy movie, then there is no doubt that this is the graphic novel for you. Betrayal not only explains what occurred in the first Tron movie, but covers the time span between that movie and the inevitable betrayal of Flynn by his codified likeness utility Clu.
After the novel goes over the events of the first movie, we are then presented with Flynn and Clu making improvements and monitoring the grid as it thrives and grows. Tron is alongside them, serving as an icon to the people through his performance in the disc war games, and protecting the people of the grid from the danger of “glitch bugs” in the system.
The real controversy starts when the Isos begin to emerge (isomorphic algorithims), because this is when Clu begins to chafe under Flynn’s leadership. They had just finished working out the last of the glitches when the isos arrived and Clu sees them as unpredictable and possibly glitches themselves since they were not created by Flynn. He then goes so far as to accuse them of being the root cause of the glitches when they return.
While all of this is going down in the Grid, Flynn has his own life and problems in the outside world. His wife Jordan is pregnant with our future hero Sam, while the Encom board of directors are becoming increasingly hostile with Flynn and his ideals. These are the same reasons he created Clu, to keep the Grid running and pristine while he balanced his real life on the outside.
Clu can’t seem to understand what Flynn could possibly have in his world that would be more important than the Grid, slowly becoming resentful of his creator and starting to run things in his own way while Flynn is so wrapped up in his mundane life.
For some reason not revealed to us, Jordan dies while Sam is very young. This causes Flynn to take time off away from Encom so he can concentrate on Sam and the Grid, which is his true passion. By the time Flynn gets back to the Grid, Clu has his own guard force and the Isos have a leader by the name of Ophelia. The Isos are very distrustful of Flynn and even more so of Clu, who has cracked down on them, derezzing (killing a program) many when they step out of line. Clu has also turned the disc wars into a game where the losing programs are derezzed also, which Tron is very unapproving of.
In the end we do not get to see Clu’s betrayal in full, his purge of the Iso population nor Flynn’s beginning resistance against him. I would expect to see much of that covered in another graphic novel or the forthcoming Tron cartoon that will premiere on Disney’s network.
Overall the story was simple, but fun to see what went on between the two movies. The emergence of the Isos and Clu’s growing hatred and jealousy towards them were the most interesting parts for me. I loved Clu in Legacy because he had the best intentions at hand even though his means to reach them became twisted, here you get to see his progression into the villain we see in the movie.
The art was pretty decent throughout the graphic novel, but really shined when it focused on the Grid aspects of the story. This is a must read for any Tron fan, and for a passive fan it’s not too bad a read for only ten dollars.
I give this graphic novel 3 out of 5 grizzlies, mostly due to the fact that although it is an entertaining story to fill in the gaps, it’s plenty of stuff that we already know how it turns out. The art was also a bit of hit and miss at times.