This review contains spoilers. Read at your own risk. 

That was a little bit silly, wasn’t it? This play on the monster-of-the-week trope was certainly a breath of fresh air after the horrific, Hitchcock-like second episode of the seasonMulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster is a fantastic title, bringing back the feel of the golden era of sci-fi: paperback and pulp fiction.

The episode sets its comedic tone from the moment we are greeted by the couple huffing paint in the forest – an opening that clearly reveals we are in for a ride. Of course we could not have expected any less from Darin Morgan, whose past work on the X-Files left an impression on its fan base. His last work was Jose Chung’s From Outer Space, the 20th episode Season 3. What makes Morgan’s episodes so good? Well, from this episode alone, Morgan brings the meta, conscious viewpoint the series needs. These episodes are proof that the series doesn’t take itself too seriously, and is an acknowledgement to the ridiculousness the mythos has dipped into within the last decade. It is satirical without insulting the show too much to the point that we detach from it, and brings enough self-awareness to its audience to prove that it is aware its own flaws. Furthermore, this episode does what X-Files does best: address the issues going on in our modern society by integrating it in the narrative of science fiction.

There are some pretty hilarious moments in this episode that’s truly worth noting. My favourite bit was watching Mulder try to capture a picture of the were-monster and only to end up  taking blurry video that suffered under the vertical video syndrome. There’s the playful jab at the notion that everyone has a camera nowadays, and so not having a photo of the were-monster just seemed impossible. And yet we have Mulder, who comically puts the blame on the new app he downloaded for his inability to capture an image of the monster, delivering the scifi trope of our ongoing dependence on technology and the conflict that occurs when technology fails.

On a similar note, can we talk about the ridiculousness of the were-monster’s costume? It is so painfully obvious it’s a costume, which adds to the campy feel of the episode, and goes well with the equally ridiculous human name he had chosen for himself – Guy Man. Not to mention the silly psychotherapist, whose idea of grounding and calming himself is to take a walk in the graveyard.

Werewolf by Night
Werewolf by Night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toilet humour was abound as well and we see this at our first introduction to the were-monster – presented in the form of an unassuming, proper British man caught unaware in a Porta Potty trying to do his business privately. The were-monster is of course, Guy Man, who, in a clever plot twist, was actually a monster who got bit by a human, and thus begins his journey into becoming one of us.

There was also the biblical bit where Guy Man first becomes aware of his own nakedness, a quality that is so unique to the human experience – very Adam and Eve / Garden of Eden like, in terms of character and setting, reminding us that this episode has something very important to say about our collective existence. The episode then takes on a deeper, more satirical approach to the daily issues of the human nature. Guy Man has to arduously go through the mediocrity of day to day societal living, finding a job, having no idea what he’s saying and instead bs’ing his way through everything, (which the were-monster says is better than camouflage) and in a final move, decides once and for all that the only way humans can find happiness is to spend their time with other non-humans – and so he adopts a dog, proposing the idea that the only way humans can be happy, is to have complete ownership and control over another living being.

No matter how hard Mulder tries to find logic in this case, Guy Man proclaims: There IS no logic! Throughout Man’s narration, Mulder keeps trying to spin and lead his story into violence- when did Man attack? When did he murder? Upon reaching the conclusion of the story, Mulder finds out that the real villain isn’t Guy Man, but Pasha – the animal control worker. Pasha tries to say a speech to justify his killings but Scully interrupts him, saying, “You’ve seen one serial killer, you’ve seen them all”.

This episode resonates with the premise of this season – in that we, ourselves, are the villain, the alien, and the monster. Just as Guy Man says, it is much easier to accept that monsters are real out there, instead of within us. The comedic approach this episode took is perhaps the only way to deliver this message without isolating its audience too much, because of the harshness of the message it is delivering. Personally, this is definitely going on my top list of favourite X-Files episodes, because it is one that truly unmasks the cruelty and reality of our day-to-day, by showing us what our lives are like, through the eyes of a monster.

 

Yep. I’ll admit it. I love The 100.

I was deeply ashamed of this statement during the first two seasons that I concealed it around the water cooler crowd.

I mean, this is coming from a guy who shamelessly wore flared jeans in high school… think about that faux-pas for a sec. *Nods with raised brows*

As we’ve entered the third season of The 100 this February, I’ve come to realize that not enough people in my social media circle are into it. Yes, that’s a thing.

Ergo, I give you Part 1/2 of “The 100 reasons to watch The 100, ÷ 2”, so that you may be convinced to enjoy the show as much as I do.

Disclaimer: Part 1 is spoiler free… or as spoiler free as it could be. There will be minor information in the following that’s revealed in the Pilot. I can’t exactly convince you to watch it without revealing some pertinent stuff, now can I?

1. Great concept

Based on the same-titled trilogy by Kass Morgan, The 100—developed for TV by Jason Rothenberg—falls under the dystopian future, science fiction genre.

Nearly a century after the Earth is laid waste by a nuclear holocaust, residents of a space colony dubbed, “The Ark,” force 100 delinquent children (age<18) to planetfall to assess Earth’s habitability.

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The Ark

2. Well-developed contextual setting

The Ark operates under very strict rules—any crime, no matter how small, is deemed punishable by death. It’s how its citizens survive given the scarce resources producible in space.

Children under 18 are sent to prison instead. Given a malfunction in the Ark’s oxygen recycling system, the expendables—the 100 delinquents—are deemed best fit to check whether the Earth’s nuclear radiation has subsided.

 

 

3. A compThe 100 Infinite Ryvisuelling overarching theme

Where there’s a will to survive, humans—even children— find ways to do so.

The 100 is The Lord of the Flies meets Infinite Ryvius.

4. Children are adults

There is no pretense. The children take center stage and even the youngest make the harshest decisions. After all, a society will not form itself.

5. Potential role models

Government formation is hard work. If these kids can be resourceful at fulfilling feats (even within the premise of a TV show), what’s your excuse?

The 100 Clarke
No relation to Peter Griffin, I promise.

6. Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor)

The show’s Katniss, Clarke is surprisingly a pretty great protagonist. She takes her empathic ethical values from her late father but acquires a propensity to make the most difficult decisions from her mother, Dr. Abigail Griffin.

This tension between “doing the right thing” and “doing what must be done” is the cornerstone of Clarke’s character. And the show does not shy away from revealing the consequences that result from either path.

Plus there’s another side to her revealed in season 2 that would make anyone go, “Shut the front door, I can only get so erect.”

7.—9. THE TRI-FREUDIAN MALE LEADS

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L-R, Bellamy, Finn, Murphy

The 100The 100 Murphy

Bellamy Blake (Bob Morley)

This gorgeous son of a gun is Clarke’s antithesis, her primary competition for the 100’s leadership. Bellamy represents the Ego, the aspect of Clarke that “does what must be done”.

Finn Collins (Thomas McDonell)

This bad boy, by contrast, represents Clarke’s people-pleasing good side, her Superego.

John Murphy (Richard Harmon)

And of course, the most meh-looking (Mr. Harmon, please don’t hate me) is relegated to the role of the Id—the one that acts on his appetites violently without fail. Can casting be any more predictable?

10. Killer character names!

Fine, so Finn is an overused name as of late…

But Clarke, Bellamy, Thelonious, Wells, Raven, Indra? These are just some of the awesome names the viewer will come across that help paint this new and dystopian world.

Props to Kass Morgan (mostly).

11. No main character is static

You think you’ve got these characters pegged by the Pilot? Just you wait by season 3.

12. Storytelling is set at a good pace

Not too fast, not too slow.

Sounds suggestive? Eeeehhhhh. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

13. Something BIG happens… ALL THE TIME

The big payoff doesn’t necessarily occur in the fourth or fifth acts. Rest assured, there is always something major going on that will keep you interested and wanting more.

And by always, I mean… every episode!

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Here, Clarke. My poo.

14. A good mix of broadness and intimacy

While there is an encompassing A-story in every episode, the show does a great job of filling in between the act breaks by exploring character relationships. I’m generally not a fan of these “intimate interruptions” but… they contribute well enough to the A-story that the scenes transition quite seamlessly.

15. Coming of age

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Growing up is fuuuuuuun!

Anyone can relate to coming of age stories, as most of us go through it like a rite of passage.

One caveat. People in The 100 come of age like they’re on crack!

16. Grounders

Minor spoiler alert.

The viewer will learn about Earth natives creatively dubbed, “Grounders” [eyeroll], very quickly into the series. They play such a huge role in the show’s schema that they merit a mention here. How these people survived the nuclear war, however, is yours to discover.

The 100 GroundersGrounders differ from the Arkians in language, combat capacity, and way of life, which paves the way for…

17. Inexhaustible conflict

The delinquents have their hands full with the adults at the Ark, the Grounders, and above all, with each other.

18. An invented language

Following in the same vein as Game of Thrones’ Dothraki and Valyria, The 100 has Trigedasleng, the common language of the natives.

A direct descendant of modern English that’s evolved rapidly in the course of three generations, Trigedasleng (or as I like to call it, Tree Guys Slang. Get it?) adds another layer of depth to the show.

 

The 100 David J Peterson

19. David J. Peterson

Who?

Shut up and listen, that’s who! The mind behind the creation of Valyria is the same mind behind Trigedasleng.

Fun fact. Peterson also worked on the alien language in Defiance and was a consultant for the Shakira lyrics demonic verses in Penny Dreadful. “Shamina-mina he-hey…”

20. Female empowerment

“Girls. Girls! GIRLS,” as Mrs. Garrett would say.

There may be more men as part of the main cast but on this turf, the women take the wheel. And I’m not just talking about Clarke (more on these women in Part 2).

21. Australian domination

Australian actors play three of the biggest characters. Unsurprisingly, one of them is Taylor (Clarke).

22. It’s on the CW

Which means you shouldn’t expect much, given the CW’s Emmy track record. But that’s okay since that gives you more room for enjoyment.

If you can get past the first few episodes, that is.

23. “It’s so bad, it’s good!”

…Was how a friend described the first season. It’s not the same set of words I’d use to define the show but…

Sometimes, you just gotta set the chronic bitch face aside and laugh at the show’s corny moments.

“We’re back bitches”, really? You weren’t even born on the planet, chrissake, haha! Not to mention, Imagine Dragons, gulp!

The 100 Bellamy 02
Bellamy. French for beautiful friend… indeed.

24. This guy

Yeah. Cheating a little bit with this filler, but just look at him. So damaged, so vulnerable.

As Tiffany Pollard might say, you just wanna comfort him with open arms, open legs, and an open mou–…

25. “May we meet again.”

This is The 100’s answer to The Hunger Games’ “May the odds be ever in your favour.”

It perfectly encapsulates hope—how characters yearn to see loved ones in the next encounter—and brutality—as it insinuates how often criminals in the Ark were floated in space.

That said, may we meet again in the second part of “The 100 reasons to watch The 100, ÷ 2”.

What, only 25 bullet points you ask?

÷ 2, dude, ÷ 2—no one can say I was misleading! Ain’t nobody got time for a full list of 100!

Chapter I

After launching away from the Deimos moon base, the small escape pod sailed along the orbit of the red planet, a small metallic sliver in the dark vastness of space. On board, some of UAC’s top-level researchers watch as Deimos disappears before their eyes. Empty space crawled along the craterous surface, enveloping meter by meter. A final escape pod zooms away from the surface, just before the moon vanished from its orbit. Stunned silence filled the cabin of the pod as Director Will Banks, Susan Carmichael, Victor Kronos and Rupert Nexson stared into the emptiness.

Star Wars escape pod

“What the hell was that?!” shouts Victor
“It’s gone, the whole damn thing is gone!” Banks babbles.
“Unbelievable” says Nexson softly.
The sub-space relay began flashing as it began picking up a series of emergency transmissions from Space Marine High Command, UAC Central and others from the Phobos colony. Susan touches the receiver and listened to a transmission from Phobos.
The channel opened with an initial blast of static.
“To anyone who can hear this…” an explosion is overheard in the call, followed by sizzling electronics “…need immediate rescue” static muffles the voice, “…Repeat, Phobos is under attack”.
The Director buries his face in his hands.
They listened in silence as static overtook the channel until the pods computer interrupted their distressing thoughts.

“Video linkup established” it was from Councillor Crawford, overseer of Aerospace operations. “Hello?” He says, “What’s going on with the Deimos colony? We’ve lost contact with all channels, a total black-out!” he rants, the Councillor was wearing a suit with an ambassador’s stripe along his chest. They paused in hesitation. “Well?” the Councillor asks impatiently.
“Ah…There was a problem with the Gate B teleporter” the Director begins.
“It’s unleashed something horrible” he says. “The teleporter has triggered an infestation of feral alien creatures and the reason for the blackout is…” he says barely holding composure.
“…we just witnessed Deimos disappear”

“What?! Have you gone mad?” Crawford asks, shifting in his seat, his brow wrinkled in frustrated disbelief. “What do you mean?”
“It was crawling with energy, likely from the teleporter. We literally just watched it vanish from it’s orbit” Rupert explains.
Councillor Crawford stared grimly.
“You mean to tell me that Deimos just blinked out of existence? That the colonies are gone?” the Councillor asks angrily.
Rupert exchanges a sharp breath, disbelieving what he was about to say “That is affirmative” he replies, the Councillor’s image darkens with anger.
“William, do you really think you can feed me this horse ****? Tell me everything you know!” Crawford demands loudly.

image

William’s eyes dart from side to side, face flinching nervously.
“Well, uh…” he begins, the Councillor’s eyes watched unmoved.
Nexson watched, knew they were about to say too much. He approaches the console.
“We’re going to have to get back to you, Councillor” he says, reaching for the disconnect icon.
“Rupert, stay away fro–” Crawford angrily shouts before the call was cut.
The Director let out a sigh of relief.
“Thank you, Rupert” he says.
“Listen, no one can learn about our involvement. If they dig into top level operations then things are only going to get worse for us” Says Nexson.
“Right, we’ve got to get this sorted out” William agrees.
“Video linkup requested” the computer chirps.
“You can guess who that is” says Victor, the notification repeated as they stood in thought.

“The moon is gone, there’s nothing to investigate. The only evidence was in the computer logs, they’re gone. Our sub space channels are secured, they can’t be accessed” reasons Susan.
“That’s right, except…” says Rupert “…Corporal Revok and Major Mills know we were in Echo Labs when it was locked down” he says grimly.
Victor was first to speak after another moment of contemplation.
“They don’t know that for sure. All they know is that we were on the monorail. We can just say that was misheard” Kronos schemes.
“Okay, good. We’re going to say we were coming from performing audits at Computer Station K-3 and that this was caused by a maintenance accident. We can’t risk exposing the Paranormal Division” states Rupert, his syllables clipped in a serious tone.

Location: Phobos, UAC Colony, Central Processing

Frightened personnel dash along a winding hall, they could hear hideous snarls getting closer from behind. The three of them were nearing collapse when they reached a long stretch, the Data Storage Vault was at the end of the hall. The hallway was bright, hexagon tiles line the floor and strips of beige cushioning with a leathery surface rounded the circular reinforced walls. Various conduits of gas, water and optical cables ran along the ceiling in a grated cabinet. They reach the Data Vault and Dr. Manning looks into the retina scanner.

Sci-Fi vault

“Authorization Accepted” echoes the computer voice. Warning lights flanking the vault began flashing brightly, a buzzing alarm filled their ears. Two marines turn a corridor behind them.
“Bogies at two O’clock” one shouts. They opened fire on the approaching creatures behind them. Despite the brightness of the hall, the creatures advanced with a cloud of ensuing darkness. A slight quake was heard within the vault and the doors began to slide apart, two other barriers behind it began to unbolt and open. They scrambled through the still widening passage, then look back toward their saviours. The marines were ensued in their duties.
“Christ, these are some ugly mothers”
“There’s so many, where the **** are they coming from?” they casually exchange as they sprayed fire. They steadily held the rumbling chainguns with skillful expertise.

Dr. Diane Stone shouts to the marines, but her words were cut off by the sound of rapidly bending metal. A sealed door next to the marines was quickly ripped from its frame by large dark claws, revealing a towering creature with furious red eyes, loudly stomping the hexagon tiles with hoofed feet. They swing their guns toward the advancing creature, it reached its arm back and a swirl of shadowy, green energy swam along the valleys of its massive hand. They were already firing when it left the demon’s hand. They make their final move when they dodge the blob of plasma, the demon had been stomping ever closer. The marines tried to spring backward, but the massive creature grabbed one by the throat with one clawed hand, slamming the other marine into the wall in the process.
“Urp…Help…me” manages the marine as the grip tightened. It begins tearing his limbs, accompanied by grotesque sounds of ripping muscle tendons and popping joints, the surface of the passage was dripping in blood.
The other marine climbs to his feet and runs toward the vault. The huge creature was already stomping toward him.

“Close the doors!” the marine shouts into the vault, tucking his chaingun closely, Dr. Manning taps the command icon. The creature’s stomping grew faster, it was a few meters behind as the marine passed the first of the large narrowing doors. He quickly dashes through the passage, the creature was steps behind when Dr. Manning quickly shuts off the vault’s sensors. They watch as the creature grips the edges of the final door, the vault budged only minutely against the demon’s strength. The vault continued to close, slowly crushing the beast. It roared loudly as bones snapped and blood leaked freely to the floor. The unfeeling vault crushed it between the three barriers as they closed, spewing a stream of bloody matter as it came to a final state. Blood runs down the seams of the vault.

RPG’s have always been a staple of video games so it’s no surprise that all companies at some point try their hand at one with varying results. We all know the big names; Mass effect, Fallout, the Elder Scrolls, the Witch, Fable, etc. What we might miss though are some of the smaller titles that don’t receive the same fanfare. A lot of the time there is a good reason we overlook these titles but I think it never hurts to go back a few years and see what’s there. The two games I’ll bring up are semi-linear RPG’s both published by Sega, Alpha Protocol and Binary Domain. Both games were, I felt, unique in what they brought to the table.

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First I’ll talk about Binary Domain. Released in 2012, this game was marketed heavily on its distinctive squad interaction mechanics. During combat you were able to speak keywords into your microphone to your squad and based on your reputation with them from other interactions, they could either accept or reject these commands. While cool in concept, it was, unfortunately, a flawed system. The voice recognition system was pretty poor and it ended up being easier to just disable that function and use a button to issue commands. Aside from that the game was a ton of fun. The gunplay was great and each weapon really felt powerful that combined incredibly well with the damage system. You were able to blow away parts of their bodies or armor, and watching it happen provided me with a huge sense of immersion that I honestly haven’t gotten from a game since. Being able to see the damage you’ve done to something in other than a health bar was easily my favorite part of this game. The various well designed enemies you would encounter along with some really great boss fights were just icing on the cake.

BD2

The story itself was very reminiscent of the movie Vexille and had a bit of a philosophical flair to it. It’s a great premise and was well executed, but anyone with a sense of storytelling won’t be too surprised by the twists and turns. One really cool feature was the squad trust meters, based on how you interacted with them during the story you could gain or lose squad trust which could come into play at very critical moments in the game. Also worth mentioning is that the voice acting was well done, particularly your robot squad mate with a French accent. Listening to the banter between them and you was amusing to say the least. Ultimately, if you like third person shooters with some RPG elements and great combat then I would highly recommend this game.

APTitle

Next up we have Alpha Protocol. Released in May of 2010, Alpha Protocol was a quiet release on the heels of heavy hitters like Mass Effect 2 and Fable 3 and only a few months before Fallout: New Vegas would launch. Combine that with middling reviews overall (Destructoid giving it a 2/10 on the extreme end) and a lack of polish, and you were left with unimpressive sales and a guarantee from Sega to not even consider a sequel. Admittedly there were issues but what it brought to the table in terms of stealth action was impressive. Each mission gave you opportunities to shape how the rest of the game would play out, ask the wrong questions or leave behind Intel and you could be completely blindsided by the story, spare someone’s life and who knows just how that reflects on later missions. Personally where this game really shone for me was the CQC. Based on Kenpo, it allowed for extended combos against enemies as well as running dive kicks (awesome). When paired with skills that could leave you invisible for short periods it made for highly enjoyable sequences of flooring an entire group before they even know what hit them. One notable thing about this game as well was the possibility to go completely nonlethal with the exception of a boss fight or two. The boss fights themselves were very cool, particularly one against a cocaine-fueled mobster set to “Turn up the Radio” as the theme music. Also as you played it kept track of various stats ranging from shots fired, kills, and KO’s to how many orphans you made. An interesting quirk of this was that even in a non lethal play through you would generate orphans which can only mean to me that the embarrassment of being beaten up by a bearded man in a fedora led some children to emancipate themselves…

AP1

One qualm I had was the fairly vague dialogue wheel which could mostly be broken down into suave, sassy, threatening, or civil and could lead to some confusion as to what you would actually say in conversations. This was kind of compounded by how other characters would react to how you spoke to them. There was a reputation system which would routinely change the story for better or worse based on the level of respect characters had for you. High levels might trigger new events or effect the availability of Intel and weapons while low levels might push you into a battle to the death with them. The only way to really know which response would do what was trial and error or looking up guides. Additionally certain missions were time sensitive so you could miss out on a substantial amount of story if you weren’t careful. This is almost par for the course with RPG’s though, there are just so many routes to take that you can’t possibly do everything in one play through and the game would definitely suffer if you could. Again, if third person shooters (punchers?) are your thing or you like the idea of a spy-themed RPG then I heartily recommend Alpha Protocol.

alpha

Now I am far from the first person to talk about these games, over the years since they came out more than a few people have taken a look at what these games had to offer. These became very popular after their release and I think a large part of it came from word of mouth. Not every game can be the GOTY that creators dream of and some fall through the cracks before they ever take off but we have the benefit of living in the age of Steam sales and digital libraries so if it does tickle your fancy then you too could play these games within mere minutes. My hope is that maybe, just maybe, enough people will get to play and enjoy the great games that they might have missed. Enough that the decision makers on high might decide some things are worth revisiting.

This month I’m going to introduce an up and coming independent artist that caught my eye, and is producing interesting work.

He’s a penciler, inker, letterer, colorist and painter. He even dabbles in a bit of animation and graphic design. His name is Nicolas Faluotico and he hails from the tiny South American nation, Uruguay. A country not known for a large comic book culture. Despite this Nicolas has managed to helped grow comic book culture by teaching. He has many enthusiastic students that are young and have a passion for comics much like him.

canadian_connection___by_faluotico-d981g4z

I caught up with Nicolas Faluotico for a brief interview over Skype.

ZONE-SIX – Hi, Nico. Thanks for speaking to Zone-six. Tell me, being from Uruguay, what is the comic industry like there?

Nicolas –  No problem. Thanks for having me. That’s a good question. Here in Montevideo( The capital city of Uruguay) It’s pretty tough because most of the content that comes out of Uruguay is limited to state wide contests or things like that. That in itself is a problem, but the bigger problem is that there isn’t really a ” market” per se. People don’t really think to read comics here much, therefore whatever material you do get, tends to be the same. By this I mean that, since most of the opportunities to publish something here are state funded, they require you to follow certain guidelines. Most of the content has to include Uruguayan history or political themes relating to Uruguay. This limits people to be able to produce the stories THEY want to tell. The themes are a bit restrictive. Not totally. There’s still a lot of great material that comes from this format as well and there is still people who are passionate enough to push through and do things on their own. 

ZONE-SIX – So my follow up question is, How then, did you even become interested in comics at all?

Nicolas – I came across a lot of American comics when I was a kid. My Dad would get me some whenever he saw them. the typical DC and Marvel stuff like Superman, Spider-man etc. Not a lot of comics because that was hard to come by. My cousins were really big into comics and they would always FedEx me stuff from Canada which made it a lot easier for me to get into it. I always loved to draw and create my own characters , but it wasn’t until I saw a Uruguayan comic called “Sidekick” where I realized, I like this and I want to pursue it as a career. Sidekick was like a breath of fresh air because it had such a different voice. It wasn’t financed by the state so you had various different themes. Most of the issues contained 3 to 4 short stories that had interesting art to go along with the unique stories being told. I researched the names of the creators and found out that they taught art and writing. I ran into them at one of our comic conventions. They were very approachable and quickly told me about joining their classes. I was a quick study and I eventually made connections and began to work on small projects.    

batman_city_by_faluotico-d8rg27n

ZONE-SIX – So you could say that these classes are really where you honed your skills?

Nicolas – Oh yes. Totally. I learned anatomy, perspective, all the things you need to be taught and not necessarily rely on teaching yourself. Something as simple as standing there watching the artists work was hugely helpful.   

ZONE-SIX – Eventually You and a few colleagues, managed to get your own graphic novel, Testimonios Obscuros ( Dark Testimonials)  published and you got to work with some people who were now working within the DC and Marvel industry, correct?

Nicolas – Yes, releasing that graphic novel was important for sure. Not just the work itself but, the effort it took to get it released. A lot of sacrifice and self financing, which is not easy anywhere in the world but especially tough here. it was a good moment when it did finally come out.  

As for your second question, I did get a chance to connect with a few people here in Uruguay that were working with DC and Marvel. Ignacio Calero, was working on Stormwatch and Green Arrow for Dc’s new 52 lineup. It was exciting to see him producing work for the big boys.    

It was also good to see that there is still a lot of opportunity to work for the big companies in North America while residing here.  

ZONE-SIX – Difficult but attainable?

Nicolas – I would say yes, but difficult for sure. The problem is that Uruguay is sandwiched between Brazil and Argentina. Those countries produce a lot of artists like Ivan Reis, Eduardo Risso, Ariel Olivetti, Ed Benes and so on. This means that the big companies tend to look there more for their South American talent. One positive thing is that guys like me can also attend Comic Cons in Argentina and be seated next to guys like Rafael Albuquerque. Most of these guys are very down to earth and are willing to chat and help you out.   

ZONE-SIX – Hey, I love Eduardo Barreto and he’s from Uruguay. He had a great run on Teen Tians and The Shadow which I was a big fan of.

Nicolas – Of course. He’s a huge inspiration and legend for us here as well. Never got to meet him before his death, but a great artist for sure.    

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ZONE-SIX – Indeed. I understand that you are curently working on your own character, which you want to introduce as both a comic and as an animated short. Tell me about Eagle Boy.

Nicolas – When I was in my first year of my animation program I began thinking of creating a character I could use for some upcoming projects. Naturally my first thought was to create something to do with superheroes. At first I thought of creating some kind of superhero animal, similar to Batman’s dog, Ace. I tried a few sketches but it looked bad. Somehow I tried a few lines in different places and I came up with a rough draft of Eagle Boy. I thought it was interesting to have a kid be the main superhero.  

ZONE-SIX – So do you want to release it as a Comic or as an animated short first?

Nicolas – Both. The idea is to put them both out simultaneously. The plan is to put out a 30 second preview that goes with the digital comic that will be released shortly after. Let’s say the next day. I’m thinking 22 to 24 pages per issue, and eventually create a long form animated short that has a substantial story and is of a high quality. The 30 second clips or previews are all going to be more action sequences rather than complete stories.  

ZONE-SIX -That’s actually a very cool idea. I’d love to have an animated short to go with my newest issue of Green lantern or anything else really.

Nicolas -Me too! I know it’s ambitious, but I think it would be cool to do that. I already have a couple of preliminary shorts in the works so we’ll see how it goes.  

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ZONE-SIX -I notice it has a real Bruce Timm feel to it.

Nicolas -Definitely. He, and especially Genndy Tartakovsky( Samurai Jack, Dexter’s Lab, Power Puff Girls), were a big influence to me.I have 2 styles in a way. I guess what you would call a more ” realistic” style, but their stripped down style really appealed to me. I wanted to explore those avenues of art and try to develop my own style, especially in animation. While I love animation, I want to remain more focused on my comics work. Really It’s all about trial and error. Sometimes you just have to test the waters and see what happens. So far I’ve received a lot of positive comments about Eagle Boy. Why not take it far if people respond to it?   

ZONE-SIX – Good point. Speaking of art styles,I have to ask you, could you name some of your influences in regards to your art?

Nicolas -Man, there are a lot but I’ll try to limit it to 5 haha. In terms of ” realism” I’d have to say Jim lee, Ivan Reis, John Paul Lean. I’d say John Paul Leon is the most under-rated artist out there. For a more ” Cartoony” style i would go with Genndy Tartakovsky, Bruce Timm. I’m a big fan of Phil Noto’s work too. Big influence. I named more than 5 so there you go haha.   

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ZONE-SIX – No worries man. I could go all day myself. Moving forward, if given the chance, what 3 characters would you love to work on other than your own?

Nicolas – Daredevil for sure. Space Ghost and Batman.  

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ZONE-SIX -Interesting. From a very popular choice to a very uncommon choice. Why Space Ghost?

Nicolas -I have a bit of a strange obbesion with Space Ghost. I’m not sure why haha. It’s weird because he doesn’t have any particularly good stories, he’s not really around much anymore. He’s kind of lame even, but I love the design he has. Alex Toth really did a fantastic job designing that character. Oh! I forgot to mention Alex Toth as a big influence. There’s always someone you leave out. Even Space Ghost’s villain’s and supporting cast look very good to me. I’d love to explore that world because there really hasn’t been much done with Space Ghost. DC published a pretty cool story in the 2000’s but that’s been it frankly. I feel like there’s a lot more stories to tell with that character. But Batman is THE ONE. I mean, my favorite superhero, so it’s hard pass up that chance.  

ZONE-SIX – You and me both man. Changing gears for a minute, what do you think of the diversity we’re seeing in comics today?

Nicolas– I think it’s good for the most part. It kind of gives the industry a much needed face lift. I think it has a certain sense of irony to it too. For example Will Smith playing Deadshot. Here’s a character that I always considered kind of racist being played by a black man. I think thats interesting and ironic. There’s also some very drastic changes that are very cool too, like Thor being a woman now. I think her design is great and the idea works. An excellent move there. Not everything works though. For example Spider-Woman, I don’t get it. I understand it, but I don’t “get” it. She’s pregnant! It just looks unusual to me. Maybe it’s weirdly designed, I don’t know haha. I have nothing against pregnant women. All the power to them, but that’s one change for a character that I don’t get.  Still I feel that Marvel is at least taking chances and doing it right for the most part. Don’t get me wrong, I love DC. In fact their stuff is a bit more tailored to my sensibilities but I think they have to work on having a constant voice. Maybe take a few more chances.   

ZONE-SIX -Time will tell. Thanks Nicolas, For taking the time to speak with me today. I look forward to finding Eagle Boy and reading it. Don’t give up on that Space Ghost idea either!

Nicolas– ( LAUGHS), No problem. It was great talking to you guys. I appreciate it. It was a cool experience with some fun questions too. Thank you.  

IronFist

 

 

 

 

The Walking Dead, Z Nation, Resident Evil, REC, Warm Bodies, Planet Terror, Dawn of the Dead, Dead Snow, Zombieland, Shaun of the Dead, 28 Days Later… This list can easily go on, and  I hope you see the common denominator between all of these. That’s right, you got it: Zombies! We can’t seem to get enough of them, and quite frankly there have been, probably, more than enough books out there discussing the subject, and how one can survive in case of an impending zombie apocalypse. Reading one or two of those books will probably come in handy at some point in your

Cover of "Shaun of the Dead"
Cover of Shaun of the Dead

life, but why not make life easier and save some time. *Drum role* Introducing the top ten things you need to have come the what seems like the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

10) Condoms 

So procreation (or prevention of) might not be at the top of your list, which is totally understandable under the circumstances, but bare with me on this one. Condoms will probably be on the bottom of everyone’s list when it comes to essential items for survival, thus they should be readily available to you — the savvy zombie apocalypse survivor. Due to their rather sturdy composition these little bad boys are great as storage, gloves, and even fire making: durable and handy.

9) A bug cookbook.

Yup. Ok, so you wake up one morning and realize your neighbours have turned into brain munching zombies, mom doesn’t answer your calls, the ex is probably dead so there’s no point in checking if they’re ok, which leaves you on the look-out for number one. Food and water should be at the top of your list, duh… Unfortunately, everyone else has exactly the same set of priorities. Food and water are probably going to be the very first things to go, which is exactly why you should be heading to the nearest book store and getting that bug cookbook. Bugs are full of nutrients and proteins *highly important*, and most people will rather starve than eat them, which gives you an advantage.

8) Alcohol, and Lots of it

Drinking yourself to a stupor is one way to deal with the end of the world, but moonshine has by far better uses than just that — sanitization being one of them. In a chaotic world filled not only with raging zombies, but also humans who go rapidly insane, all sorts of medication will run out faster than you can say your ABCs backwards. So while stocking up on gauze, bandaids, aspirin, and antibiotics don’t forget your pals Jose, Jim, Johnnie, and Jack. In some cases it can even be used as fuel. You welcome.

7) An Ax

Wits can get you far, but they cannot get you all the way. In a zombie apocalypse one needs a weapon. Sure, guns, knives, arbalets, and all those things are pretty awesome, alas the problem with guns is that you can run out of bullets, knives demand close physical contact… You get the picture. The ax is highly practical because not only will it bring a devastating blow on your growling and snipping opponent but you can also do all sorts of things with it: chop stuff, and so on… Best thing about an ax is that it doesn’t need a re-load — ready when you are.

6) Toilet Paper

Now, this should really be a no brainer. Have you noticed that they never mention this one very key item in apocalyptic tv shows? Our heroes are so badass and hardcore: they kill, slice and dice, deal with complicated and intense human drama, occasionally they even eat… But they never sh*t. Are they not human? Do they not digest? What sorcery is this? Anyway, come apocalypse make sure you are not caught with your pants down, unprepared. Stock up on that Charmin like there’s no tomorrow!

Zombie Apocalypse (video game)
Zombie Apocalypse (video game) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

5) Steel wool and batteries

In an ideal world when you need fire you’ll have lighter fuel, lighter, matches, perhaps some paper, but guess what? In an ideal world you won’t have to survive zombies either. Let’s say it’s winter — you found yourself a garage as a means of a shelter. Naturally there is no fuel anywhere, you used up all of your matches about four months ago, and lighters became more rare than unicorns. What do you do? This is where my advice on steel wool and batteries comes in handy. Get your hands on a 9 volt battery (or two batteries of any kind, to create to closed circuit) and some fine steel wool, rub the edge of the battery on the wool and presto: let there be light!

4) Solar powered everything 

If you made it this far on the countdown you should know by now that resources are very limited, scarce even. One thing we should still have in abundance (hopefully) is sunlight. Get your hands on anything that can be powered by UV rays and keep it close, keep it safe. In the words of Albus Dumbledore: energy can always be found even in the most apocalyptic of places if one only remembers to bring solar powered devices.

3) Mode of Transportation 

Horses, tanks, school buses, motorcycles, helicopters, bikes… So many options so little time. Chances are that while trying to outrun the walking dead you will alter between these more than once. Making your journey on foot is not much of an option, even if it is better for your health and the environment. Sadly enough at times you won’t have much of a choice and will stick to whatever is available;  yes, even a clown car.

The Walking Dead (season 2)
The Walking Dead (season 2) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2) Lone Wolf vs. Three is Company 

In the pre-apocalyptic world you might have been as in demand as Kylie Jenner, or the shut-in social outcast. If you were unhappy with what was up in your life see the zombie outbreak as a fair shot at re-birth. You can gather up people, work in a team, and potentially increase your chances of survival. On the other hand working alone means you won’t have to care for anyone else, probably won’t take unnecessary risks, make your own decisions, and move at your own pace.

1) Colonization vs. Constantly hitting the road 

Okay, so there are no more governments, no taxes to pay, and all the toll roads are toll-free. Under different circumstances this would have been a great era to be alive, however, occurrences such as these usually indicate chaos and disorder. If you ever dreamt of creating a utopia there never was a better time like the present. Find like-minded individuals, enlist them to your cause and start growing those organic tomatoes you always dreamt of. Barricading yourself in your apartment/house could also work. Based on what I saw on tv utopian societies never really work out, and zombies will always find a way into your base (sooner or later). Is being constantly on the move a good idea? It’s also quite risky especially considering that you won’t be able to grow anything or be, at least, partially, self-sufficient.

February 18th saw the release of Might and Magic Heroes VII’s latest patch, which included The Lost Tales of Axeoth, a series of new maps that pay homage to the franchise’s fourth instalment. Fans speculate that the rationale behind Axeoth lies in Ubisoft’s attempt at catering to the displeased fan base, at reigniting nostalgic interest.

After all…

Might and Magic Heroes VII was, suffice it to say, not well received.

maxresdefaultThe trends apparent in the initial releases of the past three Heroes games were enough to put off many fans. Innumerable bugs, gameplay restrictions, lack of coherence between game size and visuals… it seemed that Heroes was on a continuing path to devolution.

As I scoured the major Heroes community forums to observe the reactions to Axeoth, I noticed that the damage had been done.

Only a handful seemed genuinely interested.

Most fans simply had had enough.

Although I tend to fall under the former, I aim to claim the following with a degree of impartiality: while bugs, gameplay restrictions, and weak visuals all legitimately contribute to the failure of the title’s latest instalment, there are two often unspoken factors that contribute just as equally.

1—Developer arrogance

The Heroes franchise had been funded and produced by several companies within its twenty-one year legacy. New World Computing, 3DO, Ubisoft, Nival, Black Hole, Virtuos, Limbic— though each had a hand in shaping the franchise to its current state, the handing of the torch between companies carried inevitable and difficult changes that were (mostly) unwelcome.

One of the Shadow Council surveys that called fans to choose which faction they would like to see.

Heroes VII’s current publisher, Ubisoft, and developer, Limbic Entertainment, have arguably made the most radical changes. In order to get community involvement on various decisions, Ubisoft set up the Shadow Council, a means by which fans can influence the shaping of the game via partaking in online surveys.

Sample of the Heroes VII Skill Wheel

The rub? Even during the alpha and beta phases, fans cried havoc on the implementation of a skill wheel that allowed Hero classes to plan the acquisition of skills, at the cost of having to choose from a pre-selected set of 10. For the non-Heroes­ fans, this might seem inconsequential but when there are a total of 23 skills, 10/23 seems quite limiting.

Limbisoft’s response? An eleven point snippy justification on why they would eventually choose to keep the skill wheel despite community outcries.

To discuss the minutiae of the random-freedom VS procedural-restrictive debate would take more pages than the Upanishads. But concerning Limbisoft’s justification…

Is this the way to reward fans? To welcome community input?

A few more “justifications” on the part of community liaisons (which I cannot cite, as I’ve already spent two hours trying to find these examples in forums with 1000+ pages) and more than half a year later…

Limbisoft is paying the price—a mediocre game at best lacking in content and playability and the fans’ insatiable mistrust.

What was the point of the Shadow Council again?

2—Fan vice

Real talk.

I have never seen more unhappy gamers than Heroes fans. One only need visit the official site to garner exposure to the cat lady-like comments being made in relation to the VIIth instalment.

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Feeling adventurous? Try some of the Heroes community forums. Misery truly loves company.

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The fan whinging is not completely unwarranted. Many of these fans (such as I) have stayed loyal since the series’ inception. To see a game with a simple concept devolve into a game with standards unfit to compete upon release is, in a word, disheartening.

But the nasty rhetoric is far from productive for the series’ future. It discourages the producers, spreads similar thinking to fans that are genuinely hopeful, and detracts potential consumers from game immersion.

Real talk.

Who are the true heroes?

This interplay between fans and developers remind me a bit of Masaru Emoto’s water experiments, where he claimed that water has molecular properties that change in appearance depending on the messages it receives daily. The frozen water that received expressions of gratitude looked more beautiful than that which received hate.

Sounds like New Agey shit? It most likely is, as Emoto has refused to reenact his experiments within highly controlled environments.

But since we are dealing with human consciousness, i.e. the game producers and fans, we can liken their relationship to that of a parent and its child. Show the child love and support and it will flourish. Give it neglect and disdain and expect nothing short of a mal-adjusted, volatile vaj spawn.

Slava (left) of MMH6, his sister (far right), and three of his children (center).

But between the fans and the producers, who are the parents and who are the children?

It doesn’t matter.

There are no heroes here.

The producers have listened to some fan feedback such as the remodeling of two Necropolis units, but on issues that truly matter—the gameplay, the visuals, even the suggestion to have the title’s release pushed back—the cries have fallen on deaf ears… Or the improvement efforts are taking too long to implement.

As far as the disgruntled fans, the sensibly adult thing to do when an intellectual property that you love is not up to par is to let it go. Get your money back, continue playing old mods, wallow in past titles that made the series for you. But to continuously berate the series and the people who have worked on them (for better or worse), to wish for the series’ end, to spread the misery so that others may share in yours, is…

… Perplexingly childish.

Deep down, perhaps these naysayers yearn too for a brighter tomorrow for the Heroes games?

After all, why waste so much negative energy on something for which they have lost all hope?

Probably the book I enjoyed the least in the series as while it continued the Slaver Wars story very closely & kept our favorite characters close, it had too many elements that just simply didn’t make sense and were completely illogical.

As I’ve just mentioned this one has the same core key characters however the focus is more on their offspring as they have progressed with the advancement of human science after the discovery of the survivors on Ceres from the previous book Ceres from the previous book.

This time the focus is all about the first human interstellar vessel and its launch into space. While the coverage of that part of the book is really good and in all honesty I think makes sense with the testing that they are conducting. What doesn’t make sense is the plot to take over the ship and settle in another part of the galaxy.

Simply put anyone with even half a brain would realize that a population size of the ship of that size isn’t simply enough to create a viable colony. In addition considering that they didn’t have a destination planet in mind the chances of finding a place to set up such a colony without intensive research just doesn’t make sense!

While I realize that some conflict is necessary this just seemed forced and didn’t really do anything for me in terms of the real underlying story.

The special four or five with the addition of Katie definitely has a big place in the future of the series and I could see why they were introduced, but here too some of these characters really don’t do a significant amount and are just hangers-on.

Having completed the series at this point (up until the Lost Fleet series of books anyway) I can tell you that it’s well worth continuing so even though you might feel that this book is dragging and find the same flaws that I did I can only warrant that it is worth the pain and effort.

What I liked and didn’t like

Let’s start with the worst 1st!

I think have made it quite clear that the whole conspiracy angle was something that just didn’t sit well with me. The sad fact is that any space program and especially one with the importance that this one must have, a psychological survey is part of it and to miss that part of it just seems obtuse.

In addition, even if the megalomaniac could sneak through the site survey they can’t be as stupid as they are portrayed here and be someone with such cardboard feelings!  The villains are just too black and white with threats of rape and abuse seeming obtuse!

What do I like?

  • Well, I did enjoy the fact that the humans on series continue to develop their technology and the Kocklyns Slaver Empire also continue to advance in terms of the size of the empire.
  • I actually quite like the character of Jeremy and also enjoyed the fact that the survivors on Ceres had placed some covert assistance on the expedition.
  • I liked the character of Ariel although here too I think that she was portrayed a little bit too childlike and innocent although Katie, by contrast, was quite a good character.
  • Kevin and Angela, however, didn’t really do anything for me & to be honest throughout the series, they are more filler than anything really important.

Final thoughts

Overall the weakest in the series but it does have some key elements and some key characters that are worth meeting. A quick read if you have the time, but you could almost skip it and still enjoy the remainder of the series.

The last time Marvel’s merc with a mouth was on the big screen was 2009’s , “Wolverine: Origins” movie. Not exactly a faithful representation. In fact it was almost the opposite of anything close to a faithful representation. One thing that most fans agreed on was the casting of Ryan Reynolds.

It seems that “Wolverine: Origins” allowed Reynolds to channel enough of Deadpool to allow fans to accept his return to the character in this year’s version, simply titled ” Deadpool”.

deadpool-poster3

So how does Fox’s second crack at this character hold up?… Thankfully, much better, but let’s dive in deeper.

 

The Story:

This is a tricky one to tackle. There are pro’s and con’s that must be discussed. The plot itself, is very weak. It’s almost too straightforward. It goes from A to B to C etc. If that movie wasn’t so fun I guess that would be a much larger problem. This movie is almost totally character driven. They give you Deadpool in spades and damn, if it isn’t entertaining.  It’s a far cry from almost any comic book movie that’s ever been done. It’s very self aware and does not hold anything back. Seriously, they went for it. It makes fun of everything including itself, all while leaving behind a trail of blood and guts. In a way, this is the kind of movie that the over saturated world of comic movies needed. Like a big kick in the nuts.

One important note: This is NOT for kids. It’s R rating is well deserved. Swearing and nudity are aplenty here along with said blood and guts.

The dialogue is cutthroat and delivered with wit and confidence. Deadpool is a snarky ex mercenary who kills with gleeful abandon. In other words, he’s exactly s he should be. Not only is the costume right, he’s right, which let’s many comic nerds breathe a collective sigh of relief. The movie’s sharp script made it endlessly quotable. after the movie was done, my friends and I began shooting off our favorite lines from the movie. I will say that it has a dark humor to it that may put off some, but if that’s your thing you’ll find it hilarious. I guess the best way to describe the story is by saying that, while the story is simple and predictable, the execution is not. The journey to get there is fun and different enough to look past it’s narrative deficiencies. Don’t expect anything deep and thought provoking.

The Action:

This is a definite plus for this movie. Most of the time it’s simultaneously brutal, visceral and funny. Sort of like the movie ” Kick Ass”. When I think about it more, its the corporate version of that movie, which almost makes it more impressive because it’s playing with a lot more fire. Nevertheless, back to the action.

It’s well choreographed and the stunts are impressively executed. Deadpool’s gross out fighting style works well for him but he’s not invincible. Well, due to the nature of his powers, he kind of is, but what I really mean is that he can get hit. Oh yes, he gets hit, stabbed, blown up, maimed, you name it. He’s like an annoying version of Wolverine!

It has a hint of old school martial arts film styles to go with it’s modern sensibility. It’s over the top, with a ton of sword play. Overall, “Deadpool” is Fox’s best movie for action to date.

 

The Villain:

We get to the achilles heel of almost any Marvel, or Marvel related production, although this time it could be worse.

I actually found the villain, simply called ” Francis”, quite effective in many ways. Very hatable and just intimidating enough. His motivations were very weak and his back story was as generic as it gets but I could live with him. I wish they would’ve plucked someone with a little more comic ilk behind him. In the end he didn’t really feel like a match for the titular character.

Overall, not bad, not great. Just, okay.

 

The Acting:

While it’s fair to not expect Oscar caliber acting, no movie gets a pass for this in my book. I am happy to say that the acting here was fairly strong and enjoyable. There are a lot of outlandish things the actors have to say and do. This requires good chops and a hell of a lot of conviction. Is is a home run every time? No, but it’s pretty consistent.

Ryan Reynolds is the clear star here, carrying the movie on his shoulders. Really, if his performance wasn’t good, this movie would crumble. At times he reminded me of Jim Carrey. I could easily see Carrey in the role when he was younger.

Deadpool, as a character may get tiresome and annoying at times, but it’s not totally due to Reynolds. Well, sometimes it is but not MOST of the time. To be fair, I was never a big fan of his, so I may be a tad biased,

The rest of the cast is pretty solid. They all play there parts convincingly and support Reynolds very well. My favorite character in the movie other than Deadpool, has to be Colossus. I think they nailed him here! He looked great and he they finally gave him a thick Russian accent. It was like watching an adult version of the 90’s X-men cartoon come to life. So delightfully chessy, but in a good way. Take note, Bryan Singer, this is how Colossus should be! Of course, I would like to see a deeper side to him but perhaps the X-men movies will give us that.

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Overall, 2016’s Deadpool is a fun raunchy comic book romp that is sure to please Deadpool fan boys. Will it make my favorite comic book moves of all time? Probably not. It’s lack of depth and fairly mundane plot are enough to prevent it from being a ” great” film. I understand it’s not meant to be, but I have to find a connecting point when it comes to these movies. I couldn’t totally connect with Mr. Wade Wilson. That has more to do with the movie itself. The fact that I’ve never really connected to Deadpool as a character is likely more the reason. I take these characters seriously, and a movie like this tends to bother me at times, but maybe thats the point. To not take these, over the top goofy characters so seriously. Have fun with them, exploit them even. But I fear that going to far on those ends risks discrediting all the material besides Deadpool, as simple comic book fluff. Will The person watching a Captain America film, now see it in the same way? I don’t have the answer but let’s hope there’s room for all types of comic book movies out there.  So go take it for what it is and see for yourself. You’ll enjoy the hell out of it more if you do.

2009 marked the North American console release of Street Fighter IV. It also marked the time when the game’s Lead Producer, Yoshinoro Ono, surprised Canadian fans by appearing at Toronto’s Fan Expo.

Street Fighter, the series that popularized the notion of the “World Warriors”, had been absent in the video game market the prior eight years. Fans at the Expo had one burning question in mind for Ono-san:

Will there ever be a fighter from Canada?

Ono-san skipped the translator…

… And gave out a resounding “NO”!

His rationale? Well, what would this fighter look like, a hockey player?

Though made in jest, Ono-san defends the premise of the “World Warriors”, a concept describing that every Street Fighter have a distinct national and cultural identity. We know Ryu is from Japan because of his karate Gi, or Chun-li from China because of her Tai Chi Quan fighting style, or even Zangief from Russia because…

SFV Zangief bear

… Well, apparently, Russians like to wrestle bears for fun.

The implications here, though not intended, are these:

  1. Should stereotypes continue to drive the character creation process and
  2. Does Canada have an identity in the global stage?

Seven years have gone in the blink of an eye and today, we come upon the release of the series’ next instalment, Street Fighter V.

Have things changed for Street Fighter V?

“Heeeeeellllll, noooooo!”

… is what I’d like to say but there are minor subtleties at work that may disrupt the blatantly obvious stereotypes. Let’s go through each of the new World Warriors.

SFV Rashid

Rashid—is a problematic character in that his country of origin isn’t specified, as if he is sufficient enough to represent the Pan-Arabic nations.

While this might be essentialist, the designers did add a feature to Rashid’s character—he has a deep fascination for technology, a modality more often associated with East Asia.

 

 

 

 

 

SFV Laura

Laura Matsuda—sister to Sean of Street Fighter III fame, Laura is a busty Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu brawler. Although she is what I would expect from a fighter to come out of Brazil (style and looks wise), it is possibly more important to highlight her kinship with Sean.

Around the Second World War, many Japanese (in their home country and abroad) were displaced or deported and a significant number called Brazil their new home. Laura’s surname recalls this difficult time in the history of Japanese-Brazilians, however subliminal it may seem. This gives the character a degree of interest, a certain depth.

 

 

 

 

 

SFV Fang

F.A.N.G.—replacing Sagat as Shadaloo’s overseer of Asia, F.A.N.G. is the newest addition to the franchise’s string of Qipao-wearing Chinese combatants. Unlike his predecessors (Yun, Yang, Gen, Chun-li), F.A.N.G. is not only nuts, he’s also bad to the bone, through and through. It is these aspects that make him interesting, despite the fact that his design has not been well received by fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SFV Necalli

Necalli—just like Rashid, Necalli’s country of origin has not been revealed. We can infer from his name (“Battle” in Aztec) that he may be from Central America but this is not official. Perhaps it is Necalli’s mysterious aura—in looks and in his history—that contributes to the allure of his mystique.

That said, all four newcomers, though typical physical reflections of their ethnic origins, have qualities that disrupt these conventions.

 

 

So what about these stereotypical “disruptions”?

On the one hand, stereotypical characters could be damaging to the series because they run the risk of being too one-dimensional. El Fuerte (Mexican luchador who is a bit of a joke), Rufus (over-eating obese American), Dee Jay (Jamaican kick-boxer who fights to the rhythm of a dance)…

…Are we seriously ever going to see these characters again?

On the other hand, even the recurring characters are caricatures to an extent. Part of the reason, however, why Ryu, Chun-li, Cammy, Dhalsim and all the other World Warrior mainstays remain so is because of the subtle disruptions in their stereotypical features.
The Indian Yoga master Dhalsim—the only character capable of elongating his limbs—fights the evil Shadaloo organization to prevent the deaths of innocent children. Amnesiac femme fatale Cammy joins MI-6 to halt Shadaloo’s ruthless biogenetic experiments, atrocities to which she and her surrogate sisters were subjected. Lone wolf Ryu embarks on a journey of constant self-amelioration in or
der to keep the Dark energy within him in check. There is something to be said about all these folks, how they each have relatable motivations or disruptive features that transcend their conventions.

Street Fighter Gorbachev But going beyond the risk of introducing bland literary characters, stereotypes—though convenient compartmentalizers—may also not be as relevant in the future as they are in the now. As we enter into an increasingly globalized world, identities change, borders change, and cultures continuously undergo processes of redefinition.

As Zangief has made the transition from a political USSR Gorbachev comrade to an apolitical Russian wrestler, so too is it possible that the other “caricatures” change as we delve further into the future.

Is there more to be done?

I don’t mean to be “that guy” who critiques the tried, tested, and true Street Fighter formula. The aim in raising these questions is not to instigate a topic that many fans may not even consciously care about…

… But rather to define waves that could potentially create sustainable characters.

Regarding the new crop of fighters, it is still too early to determine their longevity. They all have potential but the Story Mode update set for this summer’s release will help define who among them will be the “Juri”s and who will be the “El Fuerte”s.

In the meantime, Capcom, take note from a whiny no-name brat. It would be very nice if the next new World Warrior could shatter the stereotypes with which we fans have come to be acquainted!

No more joke wrestlers! Notice how Alex is in high demand?

No more loli school girls! High time I get to play as a granny!

No more shoto fighters!… Cancel that… you guys did a great job in this department.

Most importantly, no more snubbing Canada!

Give us our hockey playing, beaver trapping, multi-ethnic bounty hunter Inuitess, please.