Monday, January 30, 2017

Real Name: Eobard Thawne
First Appearance: The Flash #139 (September, 1963)
Fight Club Ranking: #294

Featured Fights:
- vs FLASH & MAX MERCURY: Flash: Rebirth #4 (Sep 2009)

Long time followers will know Hero of the Week has its original roots in video games. Begun when I was blogging regularly on (defunct) gaming site; it was a chance to bridge interests by exploring the exciting things going on in comics, video games, and movies at that time.

It feels like it's been a long time since gaming has seen the superhero highs of Batman: Arkham Asylum, or even the routine crapshoot of movie based tie-ins.. 2017 is gearing up to change all that with a console gaming resurgence, though! Marvel will return to a third sequel in Marvel vs Capcom: Infinite (announced last month), while long coming DC fighting game Injustice 2 arrives in May.

Injustice 2 isn't necessarily a welcome influence from a comic book perspective, but it has a few interesting things going for it. For one: the roster is in the process of adding playable gems, including: Supergirl, Blue Beetle, Deadshot, Damian Wayne, and perhaps my favourite - Gorilla Grodd!

They'll also bridge the divide of second-tier character similarities by adding recently revealed "Premier Skins". As reported on Mortal Kombat Online; the new feature will allow players who buy the game's Ultimate Edition alternate choices of Powergirl (Supergirl), John Stewart (Green Lantern), and Reverse-Flash (Flash)!

Each Premier Skin has their own designs, super moves, and voice acting, making them superior options to your standard, run of the mill alternate costumes! That's a great way to expand the cast and excite fans of the DC Universe -- at least in theory! Where NetherRealm Studios has come to excel in the technical arena, their conceptual and creative directions have left a lot to be desired.

2013 franchise starter Injustice: Gods Among Us introduced the high concept premise of Superman gone bad, and Batman's inevitable opposition. Backstory and explanation was largely delegated to tie-in comics, which had more room to explore characters, but didn't necessarily use it well.

Rather than develop a compelling narrative with knowing references to works like Kingdom Come or The Dark Knight Returns; Injustice plows ahead to its 'Superman Regime' with the unearned murders of Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. The killer is The Joker, whose murderous trip to Metropolis is never given any kind of reason or motivation. He's merely there to start the violence.

That vital narrative conceit is a reverberating metaphor for the entire Injustice experience. It's shallow and trashy, saying and doing nothing new or interesting, but only expected to titillate a mostly uninitiated, pubescent demographic. It's cut from similar cloth to Warner Brothers' divisive DC Comics films, their New 52 comics, and bafflingly popular CW TV series. There's very little opportunity or acumen for honoring the characters, even though NetherRealm artists work earnestly to create a quality product. In the technical fields, these games are reaching many new heights. Creatively, it's just never going to be anything other than Injustice.

So while I'm thrilled by the prospect of playing Professor Zoom in a video game, it remains to be seen if the Injustice sequel can be good enough to reward the assumption of that existing fandom. I'm not convinced NetherRealm can deliver a satisfying DC Comics experience, but we will see.

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