Sunday, October 23, 2016

Resident Evil #4 (WildStorm)

Resident Evil
Welcome back to this week's 31 Days of Evil, as we continue with the fourth issue of WildStorm's Resident Evil comic series!
Yet again, we're looking at the cover. This time the shot on the cover is actually close to one from the book itself, unlike the shots from every other cover so fart. Issue #2 came close, but I'm almost certain that room on the cover wasn't actually in the comic.
Chris is doing his best to actually look like himself, and for once he's actually being a pilot outside of his back-story. Jill still looks like she stepped out of the eighteen-hundreds (Seriously, the version of her from Issue #1 looked more like Jill than this) aaaaaand Barry is starting to look like Billy Blazes as he's blocking the zombies out.
This cover appears to have been drawn by two artists, Carlos D'Anda and Mark Irwin. It's alright, but they could have done better.
Rather unfortunately, the cover-story of this issue is the last out of the three included within.
Our first story, "Night Stalkers" is written by Kris Oprisko and illustrated by Rafael Kayanan.
In the town of Saguaro Wells, a bunch of people have gone missing. Because of humanoid vampire-bats.
In a nearby underground laboratory that defies OSHA regulations, two Umbrella-funded scientists are remote-controlling the man-bats and attempting to mutate more of them. I know you can't actually see this comic, so let me assure you that their lair is the most stereotypical supervillain lair ever constructed.
Back in town, Sheriff Carey issues a curfew to keep people from going out at the times when the bat-men are attacking. He refuses to let them go out hunting the people creating the bats, but tells them they can defend themselves.
Later that day, his son "Little" Wayne is attacked by bats and bitten. By morning, he becomes a zombie. The scientists begin rushing to get more subjects to complete their flock. Meanwhile, Leon arrives to handle the situation. He looks more like himself in this comic than he has at any other point in the series.
Leon tries to fight the bats off, but they eventually overwhelm him and abscond to their lair. He regains consciousness, and hacks his way free with a machete and catches himself on a ledge. Leon then witnesses the mad scientists putting their plan into action. Leon then transforms into MacGyver (No seriously, come Page 16 he starts looking like a combination of Richard Dean Anderson, Jean Claude Van Damme and Neuclear Man) and starts rigging up a method of damaging the control-machine before calling for backup. Come Page 19, Leon starts looking like Tetsuo from Akira and begins acting like Kaneda. Leon's backup arrives as his sabotage kicks into action and firebomb the mountain base. The helicopter takes him out to his next destination, and the story ends.
Towards the start of the comic, the art looks good. Towards the end though, it delves into super-derp territory, especially around Leon's face. The fact that this was a quarterly comic should mean that they would have had the time to fix this shit.
The next story is called Special Delivery, written by Marc Mostman and drawn by Ryan Odagawa.
I'll be honest, this story is a waste of time. It's all about the guys in the helicopter who dropped Mr. X and a bunch of other Umbrella experiments off in Raccoon City before one of the monsters they're transporting busts out and kills them, moaning about "No loose ends."
The Resident Evil Files between this story and the next are of the zombies (No seriously) and Jill Valentine. If you needed to know what a zombie is at this point, then I envy you for having stayed away from the glut of zombie media for the last several decades.
Jill is listed as being 5'5" despite being drawn as only being an inch or three shorter than Chris is in the comic. She's also listed as weighing 111lbs, despite being drawn as having massive bulging muscles throughout this series. This is apparently taken from actual official Capcom stats. Now call me crazy, but I look at Jill and some of the crazy things she's done and can do, and I don't bet on her weighing less than 160lbs. She's a Delta Force operative after all, and she carries around a of heavy ordnance. If she was only 111lbs, she should have been knocked over by some of the weapons she's used. Once more, we're not told any more than we were already told in character bios from the first comic, or that we've learned from the games themselves. They mention a few of Jill's character details, but they forget to mention that she picks locks.
The final story is the one we came here for, the completion of the last story of the last comic.
Zombies Abroad is drawn by Norman Felchle (I won't even begin to try and pronounce that name) and written by Ted Adams.
Chris rushes to the cockpit to tack control of the plane. He comments "Of course, my S.T.A.R.S. training never required me to fly something as big as this!" Yeah, neither did your Air Force training, but it's still a god-damn plane! Take the controls and get this thing flying right! Or at least make sure the auto-pilot is working right.
Chris lands the plane and talks to his contact, Falcon about the leak. Falcon tells them he's on it, and instructs the three of them to investigate Europe's monuments to try and find Umbrella's headquarters.
Excuse me, no. No! There are too many monuments in Europe for this to be a reasonable course of action! They don't have enough information to go off of! This is like The Consuming Shadow with the lead cast of Resident Evil! Besides, I wasn't aware that the Umbrella Corporation's headquarters had to be secret, they're supposed to be a legitimate business. They should have just gone to the actual headquarters and broken in to see what's going on. They're likely to have themselves a large underground complex connected to it.
Anyways, after going to The Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Madame Tusseaud's, The Eiffel Tower, The Lourve, The De Gooyer Windmill, (Which I've never heard of) Oktoberfest, (Which I wasn't aware was a monument) and finally rounding it out in Queck Castle. Chris mentions that this is the last monument in Europe. To which I say, no! You missed Stonehenge, The London Eye, Big Ben, 10 Downing Street, New Scotland Yard, New London Bridge, The Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Vatican City, The Catacombs, The Palace of Versailles, and I could go on! There's plenty more. Granted, they didn't have the space to show them checking everything I listed out, but this was such an insane premise from the start that it shouldn't have been in the comic. Just make the whole comic about espionage and leave the zombie-killing for later, my god!
The three of them split up (Like they would ever split up again after the mansion incident) to try and cover more ground. They solve some puzzles, and for some reason Jill isn't the one to solve the music puzzle despite the fact that she's the one who solved the piano puzzle in the first game. They are all then set upon by monsters.
This story is alright, but the art has gotten further and further away from actually looking like the characters. Chris has basically become Arnold Schwarzenegger from Commando, Jill's beret is left behind entirely in favor of arm-wrappings that make her look like female CM Punk and nail-polish and fake nails, and Barry has completed his transformation into Billy Blazes.
Chris is supposed look more like mid-eighties, early nineties Val Kilmer. Jill looks more like Ada than Ada did in Issue #2. Plus the illogic of an ex-Delta Force operative having manicured nails like that. She's a member of the bomb-squad for gods sake, those will only get in the way! While Barry could be a bit more on-model, he always looked plenty like Billy Blazes as he was, so it's not entirely that much of a big leap. Although god only knows what would happen if this crew was given the rights to make a Rescue Heroes comic. Billy would wind up looking like Wesker, Wendy would look like Jill and Jack would inexplicably look like Chris.
As for the rest of the art, there are shading lines all over the place. Hell, the art is all over the place. While Chris looks like Arnold most of the time, occasionally he morphs into Dolph Lundgren or Jean Claude Van Damme. Barry sometimes turns into a redheaded oversized leprechaun, and Jill goes between looking like a Revolutionary War soldier, The Wicked Witch, and Scarlet O'Hara. But above all, where in the hell is Jill's beret? She and all the other S.T.A.R.S. members in this story have their standard gear (Fortunately without the S.T.A.R.S. logo on the shoulder, unlike in the first issue) so why doesn't she have her beret? You know what, a better question would be why isn't her hair tied up properly? I'm a martial-artist, and I play paintball. My hair is about as long as hers is and I've got to tie up every loose end or it gets into my face and obscures my vision. It gets into my eyes, it screws up my aim, and it keeps me from performing at full capacity. I could go on, but I've made my point.
All in all, this is yet another comic that wasted the vast majority of its pages on stories that didn't really matter while leaving the actually plot-important story a minority of the pages of the comic. The artwork generally sucks from page to page. Occasionally there are some decent panels or decent pages, but nothing is all that great. It's a shame that weekly Japanese comics have more consistent, more precise artwork than a comic that took three months between issues. Three months between issues. Let this sink in. Kazuki Takahashi, Akira Toriyama, Eiichiro Oda, Takeshi Obata, all of them managed to put out weekly comics for years on end without a lapse in the quality of the artwork. These guys can't put out one comic every three months without screwing up from page to page.
All in all, it's alright. If these stories were arranged chronologically it wouldn't be nearly as infuriating to read. All I ask is that they put the comic together decently. That's it. Unfortunately, it's not. Not even close.
In the end, I give it a 3.4*. Next week, we wrap the feature up with the novel Resident Evil #2: Caliban Cove!

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