Monday, January 20, 2014

Things No One Cares About: Super Metroid(Nintendo Power)

In the spring of 1994 Super Metroid was released for the Super Nintendo and is today hailed as a classic. For good reason,it is an amazing game that took its' predecessors and made them even better. It also contributed heavily to the concept of speed running. The game world was massive and you could spend hours exploring it looking for new items and fighting interesting creatures. Through out the whole adventure as was common for games in the 8/16 bit eras, Samus kept silent leaving the player to infer what she was thinking and how she reacted. However when it came time to put Samus in a comic book,the whole silence routine wasn't going to fly. So in the summer of 1994 she was given a semblance of a personality in the Nintendo Power(God rest it's soul) comics written by Benimaro Itoh.

Itoh who had previously worked on the Starfox and Earthbound comics was given this project that ran through issues 57-61 of Nintendo power(God rest it's soul). He uses his short run to condense the story of Super Metroid into 5 chapters even throwing in some back story for Samus. It's interesting that this would be the comic that would influence the later manga adaption of the series for reasons we'll get to but back to Samus for a minute.

Itoh decided to go with what every child in the 90's thought she would be like and made her a bad ass action hero. It's down right hilarious to watch her spout one liners she thinks are cool but come off as cheesy. That word right there describes the whole book:Cheesy. She gets a big southern sidekick named Houston for some odd as reason who spouts equally goofy one liners. They don't really play up any romance between the two which is probably for the best. If he did then we would not have time for wacky hijinks between the alien chairman(Keaton) and the fat guy who runs the galactic police force(Hardy). The constant cut backs to the chairman and the police chief are funny enough but pad out an already short story. So much so that the last chapter feels very rushed as a result.

One minor thing that does irk me about the plot is that Hardy ends up killing the baby Metroid by accident instead of it making it's heroic sacrifice to save Samus. Though even then it's kinda funny to be robbed of that moment by the most useless character in the comic.

Most of these characters would later show up in the official manga with the exception of Houston,again probably for the better. The back story that Old Bird provides is also expanded upon in that same manga. Same goes for what little characterization Mother Brain gets here. I wouldn't call the plot faithful to the original more using it as a jumping off point.

The art is very cartoony and enjoyable with some pure what the hell moments here and there. Especially heads that just seem to pop up in panels in some attempt of a close up. It ends up looking like the person was decapitated. The characters do look nice and this is one of the better early Samus designs. Mother Brain and Ridely are legitimately terrifying looking for their minimal panel time.

Overall yes this whole thing is rather silly and goofy. However it is clearly having fun telling you this story about a great space battle. It also helps that it does help establish some of the better elements of Samus' back story and a few other elements that would stick with the franchise. I wouldn't say it's worth your time to seek out the issues of Nintendo Power(God rest it's soul) it's featured in but it's available online and worth the read.

Till next time:Stay Positive

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