Metal Gear similarities: X-men Part II: The Best they are at what they do

*Spoilers* for Logan and the Metal Gear games follow.

X-man. Avenger. Ronin. Hero. But also, the result of a government testing program to weaponize mutants-“Weapon X”, which left him with years of traumatic and confused memories. James “Logan” Howlett, The Wolverine. “The Best he is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice”.

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Solid Snake. Fox-Hounder. Hero. Loner. Soldier. “The Man who makes the impossible possible”.

 

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So what’s the similarities between the two? Well, there’s of course the gruff nature, the permanent scruffiness, the adeptness at hand-to-hand combat (although Wolverine has a slight advantage there with the claws and all) and the fondness for tobacco products. Although like Big Boss (Heck, it’s pretty much the last thing he ever does!), Wolverine smokes cigars, while Solid Snake’s more of a cigarette guy. Although Metal Gear of course comes with it’s own warnings on the risks 🙂

 

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(and yes, Wolverine did have a short-lived era where he wore an eyepatch as a cover)

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But apart from the many surface similarities there’s a few other things which make the characters kind of similar.

Both have somewhat plain introductions into pop culture. Wolverine debuted in “Incredible Hulk” as a guest character, with the intent that the claws were in fact just part of his gloves. He also had a much smaller face mask (which eventually was traded for the larger ‘ears’ when he made his X-men debut, although-apart from the “brown” costume in the 80’s, he’s largely stuck with the “yellow spandex” ever since)

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We don’t even see the character’s face (and of course the unusual hair) until a few issues into him joining the X-men.

Solid Snake, likewise, is a bit of a cipher (heh) in the first Metal Gear-he’s given fairly little dialogue, and not a lot of his nature is revealed.

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Although the cigarettes are pretty much there from day one. Their in-game purpose being to slow time down (or accelerate it, as seen in Metal Gear solid V), calm snake’s nerves, or the smoke being used to detect infrared sensors (They also drain health, an extra deterrent in addition to the Surgeon General warning).

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Their actual-and unusual origins were both revealed after their debut. Part of Wolverine’s story was told in the “Marvel comics Presents” arc “Weapon X”, while going further back, his full origin-and his real name, James Howlett-were revealed in 2003’s “Origin” miniseries.

 

Both are “born” in a lab, the result of experiments. With Wolverine, adamantium is bonded to his skeleton, making his bones and claws unbreakable-a process only made possible by his other major power, his healing factor.

 

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Solid Snake was created as a clone of Big Boss by Major Zero, an attempt to extend Big Boss’s legacy should he ever leave the Patriot’s organization (Which, ironically, he did upon hearing of this). Two others-Eli (Liquid Snake) and George (Solidus Snake) were also created.

Although the project was pretty much abandoned and the Snakes given to handlers, eventually they all became soldiers in their own right, and face their “father” Big Boss.

It’s worth also noting that the fates of the movie version of Logan and Solid Snake have a few similarities as well. In “Logan” Wolverine’s healing factor is starting to fail, with the adamantium in his bones starting to poison him.

 

 

Likewise, Solid Snake’s nature as a clone in Metal Gear Solid IV: Guns of the Patriots has caused him to rapidly age (and the Foxdie viruses in his bloodstream don’t help either).

 

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Both are old and worn out, but go on one last mission. Ironically, they kind of end in a very similar fashion.

Logan dies next to his clone daughter at the end of LOGAN.

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….Big Boss, likewise, dies next to his clone “Son” in Metal Gear Solid IV.

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There’s one final connection that’s worth noting. The man who wrote the first X-MEN movie? David Hayter.

The same David Hayter who provided the renowned English voice of Solid Snake and Big Boss (Up until Metal Gear Solid V, where he was replaced by Kiefer Sutherland) and made a cameo as himself in Metal Gear Solid IV’s strange talk show segment.

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Marvel Cinematic Universe-Iron Man: Who should take up the armor?

It’s been speculated that perhaps the coming Avengers films might feature the end of Robert Downey’s run as Iron Man. Iron Man-alongside it’s Summer 2008 companion of course, started the whole shared universe known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which featured a series of films featuring heroes with shared continuity and characters, and boosted the company’s profile considerably, bringing it eventually into Disney’s orbit two years later. It also revitalized Downey’s career.

 

It also spawned of course, two sequels (although they weren’t quite as acclaimed as the first) and of course Iron Man would also appear in The Incredible Hulk, The first two Avengers films, Captain America: Civil War, and of course the recent Spider-Man Homecoming film.

However, at one point, perhaps he’ll leave the role-Downey of course has brought this up a few times during the recent PR for Spider-Man, and the guy mainly in charge of the MCU, Kevin Feige, was quoted as:

“I do think Iron Man, like Spider-Man, like Batman, like Superman, like James Bond has existed long before most of us were around and will exist long after most of us are gone,So it’s inevitable.”

While this is not confirmation of anything, there does seem to be the possibility that eventually Iron man-or at least Tony Stark-will step down from the MCU, although the movies will still go on with their current continuity. It’s possible Iron Man might even be killed off in the Infinity War films. An Iron Man 4 doesn’t seem to be quite on Marvel’s schedule for the near future, either, as they’re quite busy right now with not only IW, but also Thor Ragnarok, Black Panther, Ant-Man II, and Captain Marvel. Not to mention their rapidly growing TV stuff (SHIELD, their Netflix stuff etc.), which shares the same universe. Plus sequels to Homecoming are in development as well.

However, if Downey Jr. leaves the role in some capacity, could we see a new Iron Man? Here’s some possibilities….

First, the most obvious. James Rhodes, Iron Man’s friend. When Tony’s personal problems with alcohol and his company going down had him unable to perform the role of Iron Man, Rhodes took on the role for a year or two, including fighting in the original Secret Wars, before Tony recovered and took back his company. Rhodes still worked alongside his friend, sometimes in armor, sometimes not.

When Tony was briefly presumed dead, Rhodes once again took up the armor, this time a heavily-armed variant. When Tony returned once again, Rhodes continued as the “War machine”. A similar development of course happened in the movies, although WM has never quite been Iron Man proper-although he’s been both WM and the Iron Patriot (Comics rhodey was also briefly the Iron Patriot, redeeming the title from original holder Norman “Green Goblin” Osborn) as well as briefly being Iron Man again.

 

 

So I suppose it’s possible that should Tony step down for good, Rhodes-played by Don Cheadle in the films (apart from I, where he was played by Terrence Howard)-could lead. Only a few problems-Cheadle is as old as Downey Jr, and it’s conceivable he might be stepping down too. Also, I seriously doubt we’d see Terrence Howard return to the role either. Plus there’s also the character getting very badly injured in Civil War.

 

So maybe not.

Here’s another possibility-Gwyneth Paltrow’s Pepper Potts. The character briefly donned the armor in Iron Man III (As well as getting some Extremis powers for a brief time).

Even a Vogue photoshoot also toyed with the idea a bit….

…And it’s happened in the comics. Pepper became “Rescue” although she hasn’t used the suit quite as much in recent years.

So that’s a possibility, especially with female superheroes now being more in vogue (With Wonder Woman, the upcoming Captain Marvel, Silver & Black etc.)

One recent development in the comics has been the revelation that Tony Stark is not, in fact, the biological son of Howard and Maria Stark, but another man is-“Arno Stark”. Tony was actually adopted all along; and their real son who had health problems, got genetic enhancements, and eventually met his adopted brother. However, I can’t quite see Marvel Studios going down this route, except maybe as a villain, as Arno, in at least one possible future, becomes the villainous Iron Man 2020.

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The current Iron Man (Since Tony is currently in a coma) in the comics is also known as “Ironheart”, a teen genius called Riri Williams. Interestingly, she’s based on Disney Channel actress Skai Johnson, whose already done some Marvel voice work in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon.

 

Hey, it could happen. For the “Ultimate universe” series, Nick Fury was re-imagined as  looking exactly like Samuel L. Jackson.

Come 2008, well….

Here’s a couple other alternatives….in the comics, when Iron Man became a villain in “The Crossing”, uh, crossover, the Avengers briefly brought in a younger, teen Tony from an alternate universe to fight his older self (In a similar fashion, many of the current “original 5” X-men also have teen counterparts due to some time travel shenanigans, although the older Cyclops and Jean Grey are still dead).

The “Teen tony” concept was also used in the animated series Iron Man: Armored Adventures

And even in Civil War we got a partially CGed Downey in a digital ‘flashback’ hologram.

 

However, the use of CG doubles-no matter how like-life-for actors and actresses (especially deceased ones) is still a controversial practice.

Another current Iron Man in the comics is yep, this guy.

 

After the “Secret Wars” crossover, Victor Von Doom was healed of his scars, and became a supporting character in the “Iron Man” comics, where his sorcery skills came in handy.

Lately though, with Tony Stark in a coma following the events of Civil War II, Doom became the other Iron hero, dubbed by Marvel as the “Infamous” Iron Man. He’s trying to become a hero, but it’s kind of hard giving that he was pretty much villain no.1 at Marvel for a long time. He’s got no Fantastic Four as a foil though (Although current members the Thing and Human Torch are still on Earth although on different teams, Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman are on a cosmic journey following Secret Wars).

 

However, having Doom as a new Iron Man in movies is a big obstacle. First off, Marvel Studios does not currently have the right to the Fantastic Four (including Doom). Even then, the character’s backstory/motivation might take a few movies to get over….and if one thing’s certain, Doctor Doom is really hard to adapt to the big screen.

 

   

While the first two Dooms are reasonably accuarate comic-wise in the costumes, neither really has the proper personality of the comics Doom. And the third…well…..let’s not talk about that.

Anyway, all this is speculation, as we don’t have any definitive answers to how Iron Man will go out.

 

 

 

 

 

Metal Gear/X-men similarities Part one: I’m Nuclear

X-men: A team of mutants-people born with superpowers (although sometimes they don’t emerge until adolescence) who are possibly the next step in evolution for humanity. The team has gone through many incarnations throughout the years; from the original five students, to the more international “All-New, All-Different” team, to expanding in the 80’s and 90’s with various spin-off teams etc.

 

Like pretty much every other 60’s Marvel character, with a few exceptions (Iron Man, for one) the X-men’s initial explanation for their origin was radiation; a fear prevalent during the cold war; that the nuclear tests had altered human DNA, and that was passed off to offspring, giving them these powers.

Likewise, the origins of Metal Gear-as indicated in Metal Gear Solid III-are also rooted in the cold war, although MGSIII came out much, much later than X-men.

After the end of World War II, the world was split into two — East and West. This marked the beginning of the era called the Cold War.

 

And it’s also rooted in nukes. It’s revealed that Snake is sterile, the result of him being involved in the nuclear tests at Bikini Atol (Although in a roundabout way, he’s still able to have children-sort of-the Les Infant Terribles project). Volgin also fires a small nuclear missile-the Davy Crockett-fairly near Snake as well-and Metal Gear of course is a nuclear weapon itself.

 

 

Interestingly, both Metal Gear Solid 3 and the X-men movie, First Class provide alternate explanations for the Cuban Missile Crisis.

 

In Metal Gear Solid 3, it’s established that instead of the US dismantling their Turkey-based ICBMs, it was in fact the return of a defected rocket scientist, Sokolov, to the USSR. Sokolov would of course develop the Shagohod for Volgin, and this would lead to much of MGS3’s conflict.

In X-men: First class, it’s revealed that the crisis is in fact due to the machinations of the mutant Hellfire Club, who want to ignite the Cuban missile crisis to lead to nuclear war which would make fertile ground for new mutants, as well as leave them in charge.

 

The work of a secret group behind the scenes of world events in a way, does kind of have some similarities with Metal Gear’s concepts of the Patriots/Cipher, who are initially composed of the vets of Operation Snake Eater.

 

 

It should be noted that both MGS3 and First Class are also heavily rooted in the ‘style’ of the 60’s Bond films-X-men’s first class ending credits, for example, is pretty much heavily inspired by Dr.No’s opening.

 

Metal Gear Solid 3 is also heavily inspired by Bond, although in this case it’s more in the style of the later Connery films.

 

Next-They’re both the best they are at what they do….plus they smoke a lot.

 

Star Wars-The Comics history part One

Star Wars is of course a phenomenon that has captivated audiences for nearly forty years, with not only the seven core ‘episode’ films (and the upcoming spin-off series right around the corner with this December’s Rogue One) but also an almost never-ending series of novels, TV animation,comics, video games and toys, to mention but a small fraction of Lucasfilm’s multimedia “Empire”.

This series of posts will focus on one aspect of that-the comics.

I’ve always felt that the comics, more so than the novels, have somewhat captured the feeling of Star Wars better than almost any other non-film medium. Star Wars of course has pulp roots, in addition to it’s many other influences. Also, the films are very visual l as well, and comics are of course, dependent heavily on visuals to tell their story.

Marvel was the first (and now once again current) company to publish the comics, which initially began as a 6-issue adaptation of the first film. Despite the somewhat off-model Darth Vader on the cover, the comics were a huge success, and after the adaptation was finished, they started telling original stories. However, in order to avoid conflict with the eventual sequel, they largely stayed away from the battles between the Rebels and the Empire, until the “Wheel” storyline, which oddly predicted the title of the second film.

The comic of course had several new characters introduced. Among them, the House of Tagge, relatives of the Death Star council member who operated a large commerce company-particuarly their leader Orman, who wore a cape and was blind, in addition to being a rival of Darth Vader and occasionally using a lightsaber.

As well as Valance, a bounty hunter who was also a cyborg, and had a serious hate for droids. He’s eventually killed off by Vader, who of course was a cyborg himself.

Perhaps most infamously, there was Jaxxon, an alien green rabbit who made his debut in a story modeled after the Seven Samurai/Magnificent Seven (apt, given Lucas’s love for Kurosawa films).It’s stated that George Lucas personally requested that he never be used again. Of course, Lucas would introduce a character some would describe as a “cartoon rabbit” years later-Jar Jar Binks.

The initial series of comics were written by Archie Goodwin, who would also later work on a Star Wars newspaper strip alongside artist Al Williamson. Williamson would also illustrate the Empire Strikes Back adaptation, which would also be part of the monthly series.

Incredible Hulk-Transformations part 2

This article will go into some of the lesser known versions of Bruce’s alter egos.

 

During a trip back from outer space, the Hulk suddenly gained Bruce Banner’s mind, and the ability to transform at will without getting angry. Although this had happened a few times in the past, this change lasted longer. This allowed the Hulk to become more accepted, and use his powers for superheroics rather than property damage. It also allowed him more time to hone his scientific endeavors, which had unfortunately been cut short in the past by his frequent Hulk-outs.

 

However, a series of failures, the stress of the “Secret Wars” crossover, and his mind being manipulated by the creature Nightmare had the Hulk truely fall from grace-and become a fully mute, totally raging beast, unable to turn back into Bruce Banner at all.

It took pretty much all of Marvel’s heroes to take him down. He was eventually exiled to other dimensions by Doctor Strange,  and eventually settled back into his savage state.

However, a similar version emerged when Bruce and the Hulk were seperated physically, and this one took on the Avengers.

Several times in the Hulk comics-from the 60s to now, the Hulk has appeared to be physically the green, savage Hulk, but his vocabulary and attitude is closer to the Grey Hulk (but without the temperament to be a Vegas bouncer). Some fans have dubbed this incarnation the “Grayvage” Hulk.

 

 

When the Hulk was exiled to another planet, and became a gladiator and later king, he had a similar persona to this. This incarnation, with more of a use for armor than weapons than fists, is largely known as the “Green scar”.

In the “Original sin” crossover, the Hulk’s mind was altered, making him once more intelligent, although intelligent in a separate persona from Bruce Banner. This new incarnation-which kept Banner suppressed for the most part-was bent on mainly using his strength and intelligence to de-power other beings affected by gamma radiation, although he soon realized the error of his ways. This Hulk largely vanished after the recent “Secret Wars”, as the Hulk was depowered once again and more recently shot dead while as Banner in the “Civil War II” comics events.

 

 

The Incredible Hulk-Transformations Part I

The Incredible Hulk, or mainly just the Hulk, is considered one of Marvel’s most popular and enduring characters-spawning a well-known 70s-80’s TV series, as well as two films and having a major supporting role in Marvel’s cinematic universe Avengers films.  Basically, in all his media, he’s a brilliant scientist working with gamma radiation, who gets caught in his experiments and, during times of stress, changes into a large, green brute with super strength.However, he’s generally known mainly for his “savage” incarnation-big, green, with a mop of wild hair, and childlike intellect. Most adaptations have reflected this, although they’ve never been as talkative as the comic counterpart.

However, the Hulk didn’t start out green and dumb, but gradually became that way as his creators-Stan Lee and Jack Kirby-worked on developing the character.

The Hulk however, started out grey in his first issue, and had a generally smaller, more grotesque, almost “Frankenstein” style look to him. He also seemed somewhat intelligent, but with a brutish mean streak. Instead of the transformations being related to stress or anger, they were nocturnal, like a werewolf. Even though starting with issue #2 his color turned green, the basic physical and mental look of this Hulk would last into the mid 60s before transition to the more savage look.

 

 

However, this Hulk would be revived in the late 80s, when a series of experiments intended to cure Bruce Banner go awry, reverting him to this initial state. This gray Hulk-after being presumed dead-briefly took a job as a Las Vegas casino bouncer and enforcer, Mr. Fixit (here with one of Wolverine’s semi alter-ego “Patch”) when the Banner persona was briefly supressed. He was also physically weaker than the savage incarnation.

 

 

It was later established that this Hulk inhabits a seperate place in Banner’s mind, and at one point, he could transform into both incarnations, which unfortunately led to a battle for dominance.

 

 

Eventually, Banner’s psychiatrist was able to merge the three personas into one-The “Merged” Hulk, aka the professor, who possessed the green hue, fighting prowess and strength of the savage hulk, the attitude of the grey hulk, but the general morality and intelligence of Bruce Banner. He largely stayed in this Hulk incarnation most of the time,  which definetly saved his clothes from constantly being ripped out of shape…

Although given his heroics, that happened anyway…

 

This Hulk was the main incarnation for much of the early-to-mid 90s.

The next blog post in this category will explore some of the lesser-known incarnations (although still popular in their own way)-The Green scar, the “Grayvage” Hulk, the mindless Hulk, and the recent “Doc Green”.

 

Review: The Avengers (Directed by Joss Whedon, starring Robert Downey Jr. Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth)

The Avengers

The Avengers teams up the various superheroes from Marvel Studio’s movie projects into one incredibly fun film (The films themselves built to this crossover in their subplots). Recruited by Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and featuring Captain America (Chris Evans) Thor (Chris Helmsworth) Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) as well as the Incredible Hulk (Third time’s casting the charm for him, played by Mark Ruffalo in his Bruce Banner form) Black Widow (Scarlet Johannsen) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner). The various heroes must tame their egos and band together to stop Thor’s mad brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) from conquering earth. Supporting characters Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) and Pepper Potts (Gwyneth Paltrow) also appear. The movie’s fun, action-packed and colorful, with an excellent script and direction by Joss Whedon. Be sure to watch the credits and after the credits as well.