April 07, 2008

Chief Thunder in KILLER INSTINCT

Comics From The 5th Dimension:  Eyedol Worship: Killer InstinctBack in the mid-90’s, fighting games were a pretty big thing. Over the span of several years, an untold amount of sequels and forgettable copycats oversaturated the videogame market. Once all of that calmed down--somewhere around the turn of the millennium–only the big names remained: Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Tekken, King of Fighters, Guilty Gear, Virtua Fighter, etc. They continued to have sequels and updates as the others just got thrown to the curb.

And yet, for whatever reason, Killer Instinct fell off the face of the Earth despite its popularity. In the mid-90’s, the first game was huge. It was a huge seller on the SNES and the sequel was one of the first big games for the Nintendo 64. After that, it just died. Rare just kind of forgot it existed and instead made a bunch of games starring talking animals.

But you know what? I still remember Killer Instinct. I remember it enough that when I found out that it had its own comic back in the day, I had to get my hands on it. Scoot over, kids, and I’ll tell you the story of a ninja monk, a killer robot, a disgraced boxer, a secret agent, an animated skeleton, a man made of fire, an alien made of ice, a cyber Native American, a cloned dinosaur, a two-headed Cyclops and the evil organization that brought them all together. Let’s look at the Acclaim-released Killer Instinct comic book.

Killer Instinct takes place in a future where corporations have taken over the governments, including the very corrupt Ultratech. Ultratech is run by a very deranged and nameless chairman who resembles Wilson Fisk. Ultratech entertains the people with its bloodsport tournament known as Killer Instinct. Most of these competitors are part of the tournament due to Ultratech’s crooked ways. Some fighters are their own creations, while some fight in return for answers to their own dilemmas.
The Indian character:The final issue looks beautiful, especially in terms of the panel layouts, but feels as if the writer was in a massive rush to get it done. The main character is Chief Thunder, which fits pretty well. What I mean is that this is the last issue before cancellation and it centers on the guy so unpopular that he didn’t even make the game’s sequel. He doesn’t even get to be on the cover for this issue.

Chief Thunder had originally entered the Killer Instinct tournament to get answers on the disappearance of his brother, Black Eagle. As shown via flashback, Black Eagle won the previous year’s tournament. When flashing back to that tournament, it shows Orchid fighting Jago. How do they screw up continuity this badly when they only have six issues to go on?

Eagle wins, does a moving “corporations suck” speech and is never heard from again. Thunder figured he could find him and bring him back home, but now thinks that he’s gotten too into the fighting. He has a tribe to lead and a hot wife to go back home to, so he needs some closure quick. With Orchid’s help, he meditates and calls upon the great spirits to give him answers.
Comment:  At least his appearance is somewhat interesting. But an Indian gladiator named Chief Thunder? Ho-hum. Sounds like a comic well worth missing.

For more on the subject, see Comic Books Featuring Indians.


Unknown said...

Thunder was my favorite character. :)

Anonymous said...

I like fulgore and jago -thunder had easy combos though.