Sunday, October 16, 2016

Resident Evil #3 (Wildstorm)

Resident Evil
We return to the Wildstorm Resident Evil comics once more this week with Resident Evil #3. Which doesn't actually have an adaptation of Resident Evil 3 contained within.
Instead, we get a prequel to the original Resident Evil, a filler chapter about an outbreak on an island, and a story about the S.T.A.R.S. team's journey to Europe. There's also an interview with Shinji Mikami, the fan-art and letters page, and character bios.
Before we dig into the rest of the comic, let's take our customary look at the cover. According to the Resident Evil wiki, the cover for this comic was drawn by Jim Lee. After the improvement of the last cover (Still can't find out who drew it), we're back to strangeness.
The cover depicts Claire wielding her handgun and a gigantic Uzi-looking thing with a huge suppressor on the barrel standing in front of a scratched-up wall with blood on it.. Okay, that's basically to be expected at this point. Pan down to the bottom and we see that Claire's legs look alright. Moving up her torso however, brings us to yet another elongated rib-cage and upper torso as we move beyond her abdomen. Soon as we get to her face, we see that she looks more like Lara Croft than Claire Redfield. We also see that her back and chest have ballooned out to bodybuilder proportions, which isn't accurate in the slightest. Her right arm is wonky, almost Popeye-esque in nature. It's also severely elongated, especially in comparison to her left arm. Her left arm is somewhat shorter than it probably should be, but in comparison to the right it's just tiny.
Claire's ponytail is depicted as going all the way down past her shoulder-blades, when in the game it came down to the base of her neck.
Going back to the upper torso, if we extrapolate from the massive back and huge chest (I'm not even talking about her breasts, those are pretty close to being alright) we can estimate that Claire's shoulders go out beyond her hips, which isn't how she was modeled in the game. They were basically on the same plane. Plus, while she definitely had some pectoral muscles in the game, they weren't jutting out like they do here.
Finally, her tights don't come down low enough on her legs, her shirt doesn't come down low enough on her arms, and her shorts and vest are red instead of pink. This is just what I could notice off the top of my head when thinking back to Resident Evil 2. It looks fine, and I wouldn't normally bring up these last points, but Jim Lee got so many basic things wrong with this cover that I feel the need to nitpick.
The editors note mentions that this first story, "Wolf Hunt" takes place before Resident Evil. Not Resident Evil #1Resident Evil 1. As in the game. This could be a typo, but who knows?
This story is written by Ted Adams and drawn by Ryan Odagawa. It starts off with three college-students, Michelle, Mike and Raquel, giving us exposition about how one of their classmates was murdered and the papers didn't report on it. Michelle gets attacked on her way from the library by some monster and killed. The next day, Barry and Jill are assigned to the case. Apparently the rest of Alpha and Bravo are on assignment, so Jill goes in undercover. Barry is Jill's backup, and is tasked with watching her back at all times. Come later that day, Jill runs into Mike and Raquel talking about Michelle's death. She asks what's up and gives her cover-story about transferring from another college. They tell her to go back and follow the curfew.
Naturally, since Jill is trying to bait the killer into revealing themselves, she disobeys these instructions and stays out late. She loses radio-contact with Barry and is set upon by the monster. She pulls out a Smith and Wesson (She's supposed to have a Beretta, but whatever) and puts three shots in its chest. Funnily enough, her gun appears to be drawn the way a gun should look. It's in the right scale and it's detailed properly. However, the gun appears to have been modeled on Claire's Browning HP from Resident Evil 2 as opposed to the modified Beretta 92F Samurai Edge she's supposed to wield.
Barry finally catches up to the two of them, and they find that the werewolf Jill just killed has transformed into a human. Since she didn't get a good look at him she doesn't know that he was a werewolf. The case presumably solved, they wrap things, and the story, up.
Throughout the story, the art has been alright up until these last two pages. Jill's gun basically just looks weird on the second-to-last page (I don't know what kind of gun the artist drew her as using so I can't confirm whether it's drawn improperly or not) and on the last page itself, save for the top and top-right panels, all of the art is derp. On the bottom-left panel Jill looks like a wraith with how distended her limbs are, and Barry's head looks squashed. Plus, his entire body looks like derp as soon as you move away from the torso and legs. His arms are just tacked-on, and his hands are the worst part. I'm not even sure how to describe how weird they look. It's like someone took one of those highly-poseable action-figure and twisted the arms all around until they looked like this. Barry's left forearm is twisted about, but his hand is basically in the right place. His right arm is drawn horribly, but it's the least of that sides problems. His right hand has been drawn upside-down. His index-finger is tiny and his pinky is enormous. Then there's the second to last panel, in which Jill looks more like Rebecca than herself.
In-between this story and the next, we see an ad for the S.D. Perry Resident Evil novels and an interview with Shinji Mikami. In the interview, Mikami discusses some of the Easter-eggs in Resident Evil 2 and the differences between the American and Japanese versions. One somewhat laughable question from Wildstorm is "How were the incredibly lifelike CG scenes filmed?" Look, I get that they're cool and all, but they're not realistic.
The next story is "Danger Island," written by Kris Oprisko and drawn by Lee Bermejo.
A couple vacationing in the East Caribbean goes snorkeling, while an Umbrella plane crashes into a nearby mountain. They emerge from the water to find that the guy they rented the gear from has been zombified, along with a bunch of leopards. An eel feasts on a body and somehow turns into a Tyrant within seconds. They flee into the jungle to get away from the monsters. There's a little reference to the games thrown in by way of a blue herb used to clean out the guys wounds. The problem is the blue herb is supposed to be an antidote to poison, not as an antiseptic. They are then set upon by a gigantic Venus Fly-Trap. The guy tells the girl to run away, while he fights the thing with his diving knife. They try to climb the cliff, but are set upon by the eel-monster, which kills the plant. Fortunately, the guy dislodges a fairly large rock with his foot, which beans the monster on the head.
They try to make their way to a satellite relay-station, but are set upon by a group of monsters. The man, Stan, manages to kill the eel monster after it scared off all the others that came after them. His girlfriend calls for help, but unfortunately for them, they don't get the United States Army, the US Navy, the US Coast Guard or S.T.A.R.S., they get William Birkin and the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service, who put two in their heads and then torch the whole island. That wasn't entirely pointless at all. No siree. Although it really wouldn't have been pointless if these stories were published in chronological order.
We see more Q&A with Mikami and the readers art-gallery before we move on to the third story, "Dead Air: Part 1" written by Ten Adams and drawn by Carlos D'Anda.
The team discusses their next course of action before deciding to head off to London to find out if Umbrella is up to anything else. Apparently they're being funded by some kind of top-secret international agency for some reason. I don't know what. This is an original concept introduced by Ted Adams. The Europe angle was never really explored in the games.
The first thing to note is that the art is super weird on this page. Barry looks alright, except for his eyes. Jill looks like Scarlet O'Hara, and Chris looks like a humanized version of Scourge The Hedgehog. (Ironic considering his longest-serving VA went on to play Sonic The Hedgehog) As they're boarding the plane, a guy from Umbrella is seen reporting to his overlords about how his team infected the drinking-water and champagne with modified T-Virus to make the plane crash. You know, because a bomb or sabotage would be effective. Because trying to infect a plane with a highly-contagious virus to kill three people (It should really be four since Rebecca should be with them) who might I remind you have already survived an outbreak and your ultimate weapons! Then there's the idiocy of trying to crash a plane with an ace pilot on-board! Need I remind you that Chris Redfield was thrown out of the United States Air Force over a nigh-impossible rescue-mission that he pulled off on his own! The man could have flown the S.T.A.R.S. chopper himself if he had to, and you're putting him inside an airplane instead of staging a home-invasion and filling him with copper?
Now, granted a fighter-jet, a helicopter and a jumbo-jet are very different, but he's a smart guy and he's made his name in S.T.A.R.S. on his ability to adapt to the situation as necessary. Plus, this is still a horrible idea! You don't call upon a horde of uncontrollable monsters to solve your problem when three bullets could do the trick!
As soon as the zombies start attacking, the S.T.A.R.S. team begins handling the situation. Jill begins herding the civilians to the back of the plane to keep them safe, and kills one of the zombies with a food-tray. Barry then creates a flamethrower from hairspray and a lighter to torch some zombies. Because this was pre-9/11 and you could still bring a lighter and hairspray onto a plane. Chris puts out the fire that spread to the seats with a fire-extinguisher and then bashes another zombies head in with it. Jill then smashes the last zombie with some CQC. Unfortunately, that zombie was the pilot.
The artwork in this story was horrible. Not only does Chris look nothing like he's supposed to, he's repeatedly drawn like a brontosaurus crossed with Paulie from The Sopranos. Jill doesn't look anything like either her actress, her in-game model or her previous appearances in the comic. But! She at least looks like a human-being.
Finally, there's Barry Burton. He looks like he's supposed to, apart from the overly-tiny eyes in some shots.
The unfortunate thing about the writing in this story is mildly off. Just off enough that it's less than perfect. Especially when it comes to the dialogue. Jill is spouting off one-liners like she's James Bond, and Barry is unnaturally quiet. He's supposed to be Mr. One-liner dangit!
After the story, we get character bios on Chris and Claire Redfield, with little portraits alongside them. Chris was drawn by Olivier Coipel, and Claire by Chris Brunner. Both of them look horrible. They look like someone took one of those chibi figures Japan loves so much and mashed them up with regularly proportioned drawings.
First off, this portrait shows horrible trigger-discipline. Second, Chris's face looks nothing like his in-game model, or his actor, and very little like his appearance in the comic previously.
As far as the bio goes, we're told very little, if anything that we didn't already find out in Issue #1
Likewise, Claire's bio tells us nothing we didn't already find out from Issue #2. In fact, only the bottom paragraph tells us anything about her. If we didn't know who she was already, this would offer absolutely no information.
All in all, this wasn't a bad issue, but it really shouldn't have been the third issue. Stick the first story in Issue #1 and the last story in Issue #2 ahead of the RE2 adaptation. Or just publish all of these stories as their own issues (Sans the stories in Issue #1, that should have been cleaned up and made into a single cohesive one-shot to gauge interest) in chronological order.
In the end, I give it a 4.2*. I'll see you next week with  Issue #4. Then after that, I'll wrap the month up with the second of the S.D. Perry novels, Caliban Cove.
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