Killer Instinct #1 (Dynamite Entertainment)
There’s a certain sense you get from people that know they’re fighting game lore. It’s the same sort of thing you get from people that read Sutter Cane: there are levels of a reality that you perceive that no one else does.
It’s a long-standing belief of mine that the original writer for the Street Fighter mythos thought he was writing a role-playing game. How else to explain the American showboat, the PTSD and regret-ridden soldier out for revenge, the young girl driven by tragedy to become an Interpol agent who now seeks to take down an international criminal organization? And those are the sane back stories, not getting into, say, the genetically perfect female clone of the male genetically enhanced antichrist who has tapped into the darkest impulses of every living soul through a machine?
And that’s Street Fighter. Every other fighting game started developing their own mythology to go along with the mechanics and characters of their games, sometimes coming up with weird lore that rivals the original and, in some cases, surpasses it.
For your pleasure, may we present Killer Instinct.
Killer Instinct was a combo-heavy second-party Nintendo game that jumped over to Microsoft when the company that made the game did so. It’s now done what Capcom tried (and failed) to do with Street Fighter V, though neither has quite become the e-sport both companies were hoping for. The mythology carries through, though, this weird thing that goes back thousands of years to the dawn of man and maybe before.
Turns out that the dawn of history was shaped by two demonic warlords: Eyedol and Gargos. Neither of them cared much for anything other than destroying the other, and the battles rocked the planet and shaped much of our geography until they managed to nearly kill one another. They both dropped off into nothing and humans happened, rising up and claiming the planet for themselves and creating a society much like our own.
Except that they went for the darkest timeline: corporations took over by paying off politicians, basically turning the world into what America is becoming under Trump – an unholy Hellscape for anyone without the letters CEO in front of their name. Cybernetics and genetic experimentation became the norm as human rights went out the window in favor of corporate profits.
A funny thing happened along the way: as robotics advanced, corporate entities went from being legal machines to actual ones. This inhumanization resulted in more atrocities and greater profits, with masses of humanity kept in line via blood and circuses and whatever else while also being kept poor and poor and poor. One of those companies is called Ultratech, and they serve as the base antagonist of the series as a whole.
Ultratech thought it would be a good idea to wake up first Eyedol and then Gargos. Eyedol caused all sorts of havoc until a band of heroes rallied together and made him stop, but then Gargos literally went after the spiritual side of the planet – an aspect of the world that corporations know nothing about and claim doesn’t exist, but nonetheless would have seen them killed, too, if it were destroyed.
A plucky band of heroes led by a shadow ninja guardian person named Jago and his friend Kim stepped in and saved the world from Gargos, but saw themselves vastly weakened by the cataclysmic battle that ensued. Ultratech took the opportunity to corner the not-so-free market, but a new power called the Coven is gathering a secret malevolence with the intention of enslaving every conscious mind in the world.
All of which begs the question: Do you read Sutter Cane?
Dynamite was lucky enough to snag Ian Edginton for this project. You know he’s one of the better UK writers because he’s worked on – wait for it – Judge Dredd, but has also worked on a metric tonne of stuff that dwells down in the grimdark and lore-heavy complexities of the medium. He is very much the person you want writing this. Cam Adams is on art, which is also a good choice given his work on everything from Star Wars to Batman to Inner Station to Ash vs.