Reviewer: James Hatton
Story Title: Darkstalkers: Chapter One
Story: Ken Siu-Chong
Art: Alvin Lee, Scott Hepburn, Gary Yeung
Arnold Tsang, Christine Choi, and Rey
Publisher: Udon Studios
Whee! It’s Capcom week for your favorite reviewer with Darkstalkers and Streetfighter on my list of things to destroy. Well, that’s cool for me – since both of these books have a special little place in my heart. The main reason for this is how Udon Studios does things. They have ALL of these huge contract books that are going to pull this odd niche crossover of horror fans, video game fans, and comic fans together.
Now, back in the day, a company with a Street Fighter book might have gone the easy way out and given us all of these classically cliche books with little thought into story and concept. These new books show not only ingenuity, but they show a love of the stories that these games told.
This week introduces Darkstalkers, a lesser loved game than Street Fighter, but altogether a better ‘looking’ game with lots of fantastic looking characters from the depths of the horror genre. Everything from a Frankenstein creature, a mummy, a kitty-cat girl (who is just too cute for words), and an undead brit rocker. These are your Darkstalkers. Neat, huh?
This book starts with an odd prologue. I will admit that I never played any of the other Darkstalker games besides #1, so it is very possible that the character introduced is the villain from one of the later sequels.
There once was a world of warriors. A world that would evolve itself every generation to breed a new warrior to take down the last. This was how they rolled, you see. So the idea was that child after child they would evolve and soon they would all be invincible super-creatures with limitless power and sway over the universe. That, though, didn’t happen. One creature was born, and he was a big huge megalithic, Galactus got NOTHIN’ on me kind of badass named Pyron.
Pyron went around eating worlds to sate his unquenchible hunger until he found Earth. Because of Earth’s limitless potential, he put an eggtimer on it and decided to wait until it was ripe.
…65 million years later…
We come to a world that has a new star in the sky, an orange monster of a star. (Did I mention Pyron was orangish?) It seems that this star is a bad omen for the people of Earth. Its arrival heralded a legion of creatures, Darkstalkers they call them, to appear and start doing devilish things. Creatures like wolfmen, and kitty girls, and succubi, and undead British rockers.
We join Jack, a common drinking peasant as he is on his way home from the bar. Along his way he comes across Ann, a poor, poor girl with no place to go. She is an immigrant. She has no friends. She has no home. What is Jack to do? Well, Jack is a good man and has a good heart so he takes her into his own home. Now, at this point the story could go too different ways – Jack is either a mean ol’ Darkstalker, or Ann is. Thankfully, it’s Ann who turns into the fan favorite character of Morrigan, the breasty succubus. She gives Jack the night of his life and goes on home.
This all leads you by the hand to the knowledge that Morrigan is Demitri Maximov, big muckamuck vampire, daughter – he’s been exiled from the realm that Morrigan is from – and he’s showing back up on Earth soon… as early as NEXT ISSUE!
Oh, and Morrigan seems to have killed Jack, but she seemed so nice!
Let me say that there is something really nice about Udon Studios. I knew that when they were doing just Agent X. Their style is clean and looks like they have taken screenshots of high action videogame cut scenes or anime. If you are a fan of the Japanese movement, but can’t seem to get your brain around it, Udon is what you should be looking at.
This book, I will say, was a bit fuzzy in some areas, with a lot of overshadowing – but the crisp lines and bright highlights is just as I expect out of one of their titles.
The Capcom set of books are very simply things that you either know you want to read, or have no interest in. There is VERY LITTLE crossover in this kind of title – and Udon is fine with that. They know that they are putting out a book that doesn’t have a HUGE niche, but it is a genre unto itself and deserves to be shown. Go them.
There will come a day when a video game and a comic move together so that they are interactive parts of each other. Where you play the game, and a line of comics ties the two together seamlessly. It is a dream I have as a comic/game geek. Until then, Udon is doing the best they can.