A long time ago, there was a small fighting game that blew up in bar’s across America during a time in which Arcade games were popular. Street Fighter 2 cemented the fighting game genre and several developers wanted to cash in on that craze by developing different arcade cabinets.
Birth of Killer Instinct
Killer Instinct was released in the arcades across America in 1994. It was a game that included a color cast of characters that followed in the same trend that made Mortal Kombat popular. After the 90s, fighting games went into a slumber in the mainstream but maintained a strong presence in local communities and fans. As we jump to modern day, we are now in an era filled with several games that support eSports competitions. Naturally, fighting games followed suit as they have always maintained fan lead tournaments. Microsoft would eventually buy the rights to Killer Instinct and KI came back with a modern entry. It didn’t make a massive splash like Mortal Kombat 9 or Street Fighter IV did but it’s a game that is solid and has a huge following.
The Comic Adaptation
Killer Instinct’s main storyline revolves around the first KI tournament to defeat the evil Gargos. Fighting game stories don’t always have great writing or lore as its always considered an afterthought when developing the next entry in the series. Killer Instinct reminds me of the Mortal Kombat movie that came out in 1995. Filled with characters that fans love but devoid of any meaningful story or characterization. KI isn’t shy about creating a narrative to develop what Jango, Kan-ra, or Turk are up to but those developing plots don’t add up, delivering a story that often times makes Killer Instinct characters to cross paths in disappointing and meaningless ways. Either way, Killer Instinct tries to develop a new threat for the champions to fight.
The world is free of Gargos after he was defeated in the previous KI tournament. However, the world is still in peril as the world is descending into chaos. Monsters, ghouls, vampires and superhumans battle across the earth and ravage the world; while the Earth’s population is desperately trying to survive. It is up to Kim-Wu, Jango, and Tusk to figure out what is going on and why their guardian spirits are being weakened, all while you have other KI fighters are fighting for power and dominion over the earth. In a lot of ways, this story helps expands and show what are the motivations for Mira, Aria, and Kan-Ra. This is the main problem that Killer Instinct can’t seem to shake. There are way too many characters packed into the story with seemingly random tangents throughout the volume. The story is a bust but that comes with the territory when adapting a property that didn’t really care for its lore. Killer Instinct’s story isn’t anything special and it ultimately ends with an unsatisfying conclusion that serves to set up the next game or volume in the series.
Fighting Game Doods Fight!
A comic based on the Killer Instinct property should have at least some good action and panels filled with some of our favorite fighters facing off right? I’m sorry to bear the bad news but the action in this volume is terrible. Several characters just end up fighting hordes of nameless fodder like werewolves, vampires, and robots. When fights between known characters do occur, they are short-lived and muddle the plot further by creating unbelievable circumstances. Why is Glacius and Eagle teaming up? Aria is trying to take the throne of a vampire cult even though she wants some kind AI controlled utopia? At best there is a thin plot of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” trope throughout Killer Instinct. That wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t happen so often for almost every character match up.
Killer Instinct isn’t a franchise with stellar lore or stories like other fighting game IPs like Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter. This comic book adaptation is a jumbled mess of words and poor action. Often times I found myself cringing at the cheesiest lines for a story that tries to take itself seriously. Only to come across as campy and devoid of any personality. You would think that the action would be the saving grace of this comic book. Comics like the Warhammer 40K series may lack an intricate story but it still delivered when it came to the action sequences. Unfortunately, Killer Instinct fails also on that regard with meaningless fights that simply don’t look good.
- THE GOOD
- Killer Instinct cast
- THE BAD
- Story is terrible and predictable
- The action of disappointing
- Too many unnecessary story threads
Killer Instinct is a poor adaptation that doesn’t translate well in comic book form. Fans of the series should look elsewhere if they want to delve deeper into the characters of this popular fighting game franchise.