Sunday, October 12, 2008

Punching superheroes

By this point, it's no secret that I'm a fan of comic books and superheroes, as well as video games.

This autumn has a couple of interesting offerings for people like me, in the form of two very interesting superhero video games.

Firstly, October 21 sees the release of "Spider-Man: Web of Shadows," a non-movie-based game which sees Venom reproducing his alien symbiote, and the resulting clones attack and take over people all over New York.

Those turned into Venom-style monsters include The Vulture, Black Cat, and Wolverine. There will be guest-stars from all corners of the Marvel Universe, including the aforementioned  characters as well as SHIELD, Luke Cage, Moon Knight, Black Widow, and others.

The game will build off of the basis of the previous Spidey video games, so expect high-flying, action-packed beat-em-up action with high-octane webslinging mechanics.

As cool as this game sounds, I don't think the trailer could be more depressing:

Looks a lot like the recent "Venom Bomb" arc in the "Mighty Avengers" comic, but hopefully with less Bendis-style "Skip the action sequences in favor of pages-long exchanges of dialogue" storytelling.

Also, one last note that I would like to convey to everybody working on Spider-Man video games, cartoons, movies and comics for the next few years:


We will now segway from talking about Venom to a couple of other culturally dated relics from the early-to-mid nineties: Alex Ross and "Mortal Kombat."

"Mortal Kombat Vs. DC Universe" will be released in early November, and is a fighting game where the world of Mortal Kombat collides with the world of Batman, Superman, and that whole lot of superhumans.

Ignoring the fact that I'm sure I will play it, this game has been a geek-rage sticking point for me since it was announced. Although I have no problem with seemingly random mash-ups like hyper-violent video game fighters taking on big shiny superheroes, I have problems with how it's being handled.

How can Sonya Blade have a chance of besting Superman in a hand-to-hand fight? How do you perform fatalities on god-like characters like Captain Marvel and Darkseid? Why would you do something as benign and uncharacteristic as turning The Joker into a hand-to-hand fighter?

And most importantly, how can you have a fighting game featuring Batman, when Batman never loses a fight, ever?

That said, I am PUMPED to play a Green Lantern vs. Raiden fight, from both sides of the conflict.

And now, it's been announced that the special "Kollector's Edition" of the game will feature a 16-page comic by MK ko-kreator John Tobias, and cover art by overrated painter Alex Ross.

First of all, that looks like the movie poster for some terrible 80s fantasy flick. If somebody ever made a sequel to "Labyrinth," this is what the promotional materials would look like.

Secondly, Ross' style is hyper-photorealistic, and he draws EVERYTHING from photo reference, which begs the question, why not just use pictures? Also, his incessant photo-referencing gives his male superheroes the tendency to look like his doughy, middle-aged next-door neighbors.

So, I'm closing this post with a list of artists, which I am pulling off the top of my head, whose art would make a better cover than that of Alex Ross:

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