Space… the final frontier, and like any untamed wilderness there are always struggles and conflicts for the resources and strategic advantages they might offer. While the physics, tactics, and possibilities offered by all out space-combat might go under utilised and appreciated in modern media, there’s one thing we can do in film, TV, and games, and that’s make it look epic!
Though the loss of life may be tremendous, and the horrors of war are made even more heartbreaking when the fallen are cast adrift in the endless dark… but damn it looks pretty! Here’s the Top 10 Space Battles.
At last, the final Defender steps into the lineup. We pass from noir and pulp into a more Wu-Xia film style, the student’s voyage of discovery, facing his enemies without and within, trust is gained and lost, demons are mastered, and the day is… well. Iron Fist drew a lot of hatred before release on two grounds, the first was cultural, the second was quality. Let me start by addressing the cultural matter as briefly and succinctly as I can. We try and avoid getting into controversial matters where we can but this needs to be said:
A: If we make a martial arts series starring an asian guy it’s a racial stereotype.
B: If we make a martial arts series starring anyone else it’s cultural appropriation.
C: This is called a no-win scenario.
D: Danny Rand was always a white guy! It’s kind of the point, child of rich industrialists plunged into a culture where he is out of place, his competitive nature drives him to obtain the highest honour in K’un-Lun… but that’s backstory, I’ll get back to that.
I’m not trying to offend anyone here, this is a cold statement of fact. Can we please judge Iron Fist on it’s quality? It won’t end any better.
In The Green Corner – Danny Rand
My name is Danny Rand. After fifteen years in a pocket dimension I have returned home to save my city, but in order to do that I need to become something else… a ten year old having a tantrum.
Ok, that may not be an entirely fair comparison, but it’s an easy one to make. Both return home from a long period of intense and at times mystical training with a mission in mind concerning the company that their parents own, and have to struggle to reclaim their company from the hands of those who are responsible for some serious criminal activity in the area. Oliver Queen has learned a great sense of personal responsibility over the course of several seasons, but by this point he’s already overcome his juvenile habits over the course of five years of torturous “education”.
So why am I still getting “brat” from Danny Rand after fifteen years of discipline, martial arts training, and spiritual guidance?
The duty of the Iron Fist is to guard the gates of K’un Lun, a pocket dimension, a slice of heaven, one that’s sought by many but who is only accessible every fifteen years. Danny wants, and obtains the role because of his natural competitive nature, but for reasons listed in the spoiler below he returns to New York. He is the sworn enemy of the Hand, the drug-dealing ninjas we’ve come to know and love, so when he discovers they’re heavily active in New York he sets about efforts to root them out.
Minor spoilers, When he has begun his duty he realises how tedious the life of an Iron Fist will be, Danny ups and leaves. This has a rather predictable outcome, which becomes more predictable when he’s reminded constantly about the duty he has shirked, nut not only is this a wholly predictable ending but the “grand reveal” is badly composed and blandly delivered. End Spoilers.
Finn Jones – who you might recognise as Loras Tyrell – does his best, he manages quite a bit with the material like Rand’s struggle to overrule his emotions in order to harness his powers, the realisations that he hasn’t even begun to discover his powers and purpose, how his trusting nature finally collapses under betrayal after betrayal and the need to embrace his enemy to destroy someone he thought was a friend. Let’s not blame Finn Jones here, it’s not his fault that the Fist’s powers just manifest whenever most convenient and vanish whenever most dramatic, or that Rand can’t spot the bad guy staring him in the face, or just accept his damn responsibilities! He’s got a hard task to win us back for the dramatic finale…
In Every Other Corner – The Hand
It’s not entirely fair to lay the blame for the boring story at the feet of the protagonist, bringing the heroes down to street level has brought a new level of threat to the previously indomitable “super-hero”. Daredevil faces down a ferocious beast of a man presiding over a kingdom of fear, Jessica Jones is pursued by a man who can control anyone with a voice and wants her absolutely, Luke Cage‘s most terrifying enemy is his own skin when he needs medical attention.
Where was the terrifying power of the Hand we have come to fear throughout the Defenders series so far. Daredevil series 2 showed us how terrifying ninjas can be! Oh sure we can laugh off Naruto and guys in pyjamas right up until we watch the hospital siege, or the raw power of Madame Gao, the one person in the world who earned the fear and respect of Fisk. We know that the Hand can raise the dead, but the methods by which they do this are horrifying beyond description, certainly far beyond your Saturday morning Spider-Man.*
So where were the Hand in Iron Fist? Manipulating Rand Enterprises, selling heroine to keep the “ghetto” down, and helping kids get out of that ghetto so that they show absolute gratitude to the Hand for giving them a purpose. Cunning, terrible, not scary! And Madame Gao – who should have been a centre piece for the series and the kind of silent dread the Hand could bring – started Iron Fist looking like a real master, a floor to herself right under Danny’s nose to run her criminal enterprises, an undead corporate tool under her heel, and a legion of killers at her disposal, none of which she needs as she floors the greatest heroes in the world with a touch and hobbles away. That lasts for a few episodes towards the beginning and then… nothing.
That leaves Danny to face off against a bunch of kids while he deals with his angst.
Fortunately they’re not the only threat to the Iron Fist’s fragile ego.
Meachums, Meet the Meachums
A highlight! And a big one. Former childhood friends of Danny and the children of co-founder of Rand, Ward and Joy Meachum have been running Rand Enterprises for quite some time following the death of father Harold. Tom Pelphrey plays Ward as the rage-filled, pill-popping, and tortured pawn of several higher powers. He goes off the hinges and spirals out of control only to be pulled back from the brink shortly after falling into it. Jessica Stroup is the kindly but business savvy sister Joy trying to understand how an old friend could suddenly return from the dead, deal with her brother’s lies and drug addiction, and slowly breaking under the strain.
And finally Harold, not dead, in hiding in a luxurious penthouse from which he controls the actions in Rand Enterprises via a network of puppets including his beaten and belittled son. David Wenham plays the abusive father excellently, he keeps telling his son that everything he’s doing is for him, so Ward should do everything he’s told because he’s an idiot and owes his father everything. This has been made worse by the fact that he was resurrected by the Hand to do their bidding; not only does he channel his frustration at being out of control of his life into his son, the process makes the recipient more and more likely to lash out at those you love.
By gods, I love Harold Meachum! A couple of spoilers in this paragraph but it’s worth it. The scene where he rises out of the swamp like some morbid Solomon Grundy and stumbles around recovering from death is darkly comical in a way that unnerves you just enough to brace for every terrible thing he does from that point onwards. You feel the tension whenever he and Joy are in the same room, “Dear god Joy, get away from him!” and the escalation of his hatred towards his son is stunning. I’ve seen Wenham in a variety of very different roles but I’ve never seen him as terrifying before.
The entire Meachum family makes Iron Fist worth watching, and elevates it to merely second worst in the Defenders series so far.
All Together Now
Between Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and a season of Daredevil that didn’t quite meet standards, I feel like we’ve had a rough ride to get to the Defenders. It was an amazing start, Daredevil set one hell of a tone for Jessica Jones to build onto. We’ve gone through the best of noir, shot for pulp and made a half-hearted attempt at Wu-Xia, so if we can pull it out of the bag for our ensemble piece I’ll be happy enough.
There’s every chance that the Defenders may very well cast Iron Fist in a light that makes this series more enjoyable. Truth be told there’s a lot went by that was too unremarkable, and so I haven’t remarked on it. Colleen Wing, Davos, a few moments where I feel like the narrative was trying and failing to make us wonder what the truth was. Actually I can sum all three up in one go, we made to wonder if the Hand really are the bad guys (yes, yes they are) because of Davos’ affirming of Danny’s constant repeating that the Hand are evil and must be stopped, Colleen makes a fair point about how they blindly accept what they’ve been told and how the Hand have done great things for these kids but – oh no wait I guess actually they are bad, moving on.
The presence of Davos and the symbol of the Steel Serpent all but confirms Gao as Crane Mother at this point, along with a casual remark concerning The Order of the Crane Mother. If that’s the case a short delve into storylines involving them both point to a narrative in which Jeryn Hogarth (Jeri to us watching along at home) is likely to get kidnapped and saved by Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. It would also make Gao something far more terrifying than we have even glimpsed so far.
Do I need to mention Claire Temple at this point?
Yes, I do. Because dammit she’s the only one who demonstrates that the Hand are a terrifying force to be reckoned with, and gives us a horrifying account of the hospital siege and the events that led her to wander New York trying to make herself better and stronger. But to be honest, her vehemence only serves to highlight how ineffective the Hand are this time around, and I was more terrified of the hospital administration than the ninjas. Plus now Claire has sweet claws!
There’s more I could easily cover, but Iron Fist simply doesn’t grab you as thoroughly as it should. I’m suddenly a little concerned for the future of the series. At least I was until Netflix showed us this:
*I’ve been reading a lot of Carnage comics of late, and I’d actually like to see Spidey get the R-rated treatment just to see the horror that the more interesting Marvel villains can wreak.
A little bit of an oxymoron, a powerless superhero is probably not what you’d call a superhero. However, as time has gone on, the superhero genre has changed and we call some of the key heroes who, by all means, are as powerless as the rest of us. Sure, they might be well trained, in fact you could argue they’re trained to superhuman levels, but if we were put through the same conditions as them, we could possibly achieve this too…
… Naaah. Too much effort for my liking. However, these men and women are here to show us how cool it is to be a powerless superhero, fighting villains, supervillains and more. Be it technology, be it strategy, or be it just through sheer determination, these are our Top 10 Powerless Superheroes.
When you’re making a cast of pirates, do you ever think of putting a bouncy ball in amongst the crew? Not really. When you’re making a story about war, do you ever think of putting scantily clad ladies all over it? Probably not. What about those times you’re designing a fantasy RPG and you design one of the main characters to be… A robot? Ah well, at least we remember these characters, right?
These characters stand out amongst the crowd; they’re odd-balled, they’re different and that’s why we remember them the most. They are against the grain of the rest of their cast – And today we’re listing down our Top 10 most Unfitting Characters. STOP! Before we continue with this, just be aware: If a whole series is weird, chances are the character actually fits in.
10) Tails Doll – Sonic Racing R
The Tails Doll, a character who is so insignificant, so useless and so basically average that you’d hardly believe that they’d put it in the game at all. Let alone the fact that it’s a character that didn’t exist within the Sonic universe before going into Sonic Racing R, you’ve got what’s basically just a filler character who barely fits in with the lore and mythos of the Sonic world. Yes: There’s definitely a lore behind it, don’t question it.
However, one thing that constantly bewilders me is the fact that this little weird possessed doll became one of the biggest talking points of the game. From the Evil Tails Doll Curse, to the Acid Remix of Can You Feel The Sunshine, it’s really out of place for the rest of this rather happy go lucky Mario Kart clone. Still: You can’t really blame them for adding a character like this into the game… He even ended up going into the comics as an evil doll.
9) Manta – Shaman King
Manta is really small, which isn’t too much of a surprise with a name like that. He’s tiny, he’s got a strange haircut, we know him as Morty in the English dubs of Shaman King and he’s a smart guy. In fact, he’s probably one of, if not the smartest guy in the entire anime. But there’s always been a small feeling of aloofness about him – Like, he’s not all there. Almost as if he’s strung along by Yoh just because he has nothing better to do.
I don’t know why Manta decides to journey through the incredibly dangerous Shaman King tournament, but he seems to stay around because he’s friends with Yoh. Morty isn’t a shaman, but he can see spirits. He isn’t strong, but he’s smart. He isn’t even all that brave, except for rare circumstances, but you know what? The series wouldn’t have been the same without his worrying.
8) Twoflower – Discworld
The Disc is filled with people and narratives that point a big fat finger to real-world things and says “This is you, this is what you look like, you burk.” and no one but no one does that quite so overtly as Twoflower, the little man from the Counterweight Continent who goes on holiday and starts a revolution. He doesn’t quite fit in around Ankh-Morpork, as a generally quite dingy and unpleasant city a man with a cheerful disposition and a penchant for offensively colourful shirts stands out a mile, and yet he doesn’t quite fit in at home either.
He is, in every regard, the oddball, and that makes Rincewind a perfect companion because though he looks the part and generally fits in a whole lot better in society, he’s not exactly full-blown wizard material himself. However out of the entire cast of characters from the glorious Discworld series, say if they were laid out à la one of those Simpsons character ensembles, Twoflower would light up like a beacon.
7) Monkey – Time Splitters
This little monkey packs a serious punch. I mean, it’s literally just a monkey and the game is very happy to tell you this over and over again. From the first Time Splitters, where the Monkey’s entry simply says “It’s a monkey” to Time Splitters 2, where the entry is updated to “Yep, it’s still a monkey”. He’s not a durable character, he’s not even all that great – but he can still wield a gun like it’s nobodies business.
The oddness of the Monkey knows no bounds. From it’s little ooks and aaks, to the fact that it’s simply a joke character, the fact that this Monkey became the mascot of the game is both hilarious and odd. They could have chosen the rather witty characters from this shooter, but they chose the goddamn Monkey!! Also, don’t get me started on just how many times I was killed by this little Monkey in the multiplayer modes.
6) Tex – Red vs Blue
Amidst the warring teams of idiots duking it out in a box canyon of absolutely no strategic value it seems like a single well-trained individual would be able to massacre both sides* and get out unscathed, but it just wouldn’t be funny like the rest of the series. Red vs Blue began life fourteen years ago in the early days of the internet creativity boom, a crude animation made in the Halo multiplayer. Now it’s immense, and creators at Rooster Teeth are now a major animation studio, thanks in no small part to Tex.
Tex is a badass mercenary gone renegade from an elite military unit who brings a layer of seriousness to the comedy stylings of Red team and Blue team, acting as a “straight-guy” to their “funny-guy”. She’s better trained, in fact she’s the best, and she’s mostly there to save the Blood Gulch boys from all of the terrible forces that want them dead! And she also spends much of that time listening to their arguments and non-sequiturs wondering why she’s going to all the trouble.
*This link has rude words AND AN AWESOME FIGHT SCENE but it gets a little too rude for this site.
5) Tingle – The Legend of Zelda
If you know anything about The Legend of Zelda, it’s that some characters seemingly don’t know when to quit. Even Link, the hero of Hyrule, is barely able to stop for a second. Tingle, meanwhile, depending on the game you see him in, is either a collector, a fan or other. Tingle is annoying and we all get annoyed when we see his stupid face around. Couple that face with the stupid green spandex he wears, damn it Tingle, why are you even in this game?!
But he does serve a purpose, so it’s not all lost. However, just because he serves a purpose, it doesn’t really mean he should be there. In all honesty, he wasn’t too bad in Minish Cap, when really he mostly served as a way to deal with all of the Kinstones. He’s been around since Majora’s Mask, so you can bet your butt that he’s not going anywhere soon. Actually, probably not a bad idea, considering he usually has useful stuff on him. Let the fairy fantasizer be, I guess.
4) Kon – Bleach
I feel like somewhere in Shonen Jump’s contract there is a requirement for a fluffy and adorable character, or just some bracket with “Grim and Gritty” at one end and “Childish and Adorable” at the other, and all Shonen Jump properties must fall somewhere inside that bracket. So in a world of lost and murderous souls put down by a semi-divine enforcement agency with a solemn duty to save the living from the dead… put in a teddy bear. Make him wear a dress sometimes.
Kon… why? He serves the very occasional purpose for a story, or maybe he just gets a narrative of his own from time to time, and it’s usually better than the filler arcs. He’s a constructed artificial soul placed into a vessel that he brings to life, and while he’s mostly there to occupy Ichigo’s body while he’s on Shinigami duty and saving the world, off-duty he lives inside a fluffy teddy… maybe a lion? On the bright side, he’s just as irritated about the whole thing as we are.
3) Chiaotzu – Dragon Ball
This one has always confused me, because Chiaotzu is a tiny little human. A tiny human who has always seemingly been able to fly. A tiny human who has always been at the side of Tien and a tiny human who doesn’t look at all like the rest of the humans from Dragon Ball. Now, don’t get me wrong: Dragon Ball is full of ridiculous characters, as we all know and love it for… But Chiaotzu? He seriously seems more out of place than the rest. I’ve never been able to put my finger on it before, but now I think I know why he’s so misplaced.
According to the Dragon Ball Wiki, he’s supposed to be like a Chinese Vampire. From the way he floats around the place, to the way he attacks with his arms stretched out, he seemingly is a perfect fit to this description. Even the white skin and red cheeks are a reference. Dragon Ball is full of myths and fantasy stories: Heck, it was originally even a loose adaptation on The Journey to the West… But Vampires..?
2) Squirrel Girl – Marvel
Ok, so Marvel have got just about everything in their arsenal so far as superheroes go. Every viable superpower from the incredible to the insignificant, the terrible to the ridiculous. If a reasonable backstory cannot be conjured then the mutations of the X-Men can always fill in the blanks. That Squirrel Girl exists is not a shock, at most it’s a mild surprise, and the only reasonable response is “Seriously?”, to be repeated, louder, when you find out she’s one of the most powerful heroes in the Marvel Universe!
Doreen Green is a human with squirrel attributes born of some odd genetic quirk, a long fluffy tail, robust buck-teeth, claws, agility, and yes, the power to talk with squirrels. With this incredible arsenal of abilities she has killed Thanos, bested Deadpool, and turned aside Galactus himself. She’s good enough to beat Wolverine in a straight fist-fight (no claws allowed), she’s got her own Iron-Suit, and amongst the foremost members of the Great Lakes Avengers.
But she’s a SQUIRREL! And she made friends with the World Eater! Deadpool just doesn’t hold up to that, so if you were expecting him on this list then clearly my friend, you don’t know Squirrel Girl.
1) Giygas – Earthbound
Giygas is literally the embodiment of evil. That’s what it represents; that’s what it is. It’s pure hatred in an ethereal form. It’s also a villain that we’ve grown to both fear and respect at the same time. From that menacing music, to the frightful appearance of Giygas, this is a terrifying concept for most people, as he says some of the creepiest dialogue in the game. Words like “I… Feel… H..A..P..P..Y.” Creepy.
However, Giygas is probably one of the most unfitting characters of any video game made to date. Earthbound is renowned for being really surreal and silly. I mean, one of the enemies is the New Age Retro Hippy, who likes to get rulers out and measure… Stuff. We don’t know what, but that’s one of his attacks. Couple this with the colourful characters, the zany plot and the lovable story behind it, Giygas comes completely out of the blue. Even though you spend the whole game preparing for it.
Okay, we’ve seen some downright weird characters today. But don’t you worry, we’re not finished yet. Here are two more examples of characters that really do not fit within their properties… But yet, they kind of do in a story-related fashion. You’ll see what we mean…
Mr Poopybutthole – Rick and Morty
Here’s an example that makes itself. The little yellow blob in the top hat joins the cast of Rick and Morty during an episode that generates all manner of kooky and poorly conceived characters like Bacon Samurai, Reverse Giraffe and Pencylvester. All of them are introduced through a series of flashbacks that make it seem like they’ve been in the series the whole time, but they’re all parasites that shapeshift into wild characters to prey on those whose trust they acquire.
The way to spot a parasite is to check your memory to see if you have any bad memories of the beloved part of your family. If they’ve never shot you, kicked you in the face or abandoned you to some terrible fate then they’re a parasite, and need to be killed. They clear out the house of all of these crazy and wacky characters they once thought were friends and settle back down to a meal of the crummiest people in the family… and Mr Poopybutthole. Oh but it turns out that he’s real, which we find out when Beth shoots him and hurts a real friend, a friend who has never hurt her.
I guess sometimes it pays to fit in, just a little more. Mr Poopybutthole is there to stand out, to be “wrong” compared to the others, because he’s the punchline to an episode that makes a huge joke out of badly introduced characters who just don’t work.
Khajiit and Argonians – The Elder Scrolls
Not a character, but there’s something a little jarring about the bestial races of the Elder Scrolls games when you first begin. Having the sapient cats and lizards pop up in the choices for playable races mixed in amongst the variations of Man and Mer starts out as unusual until you get used to seeing them around, and their particular cultural quirks, and in Morrowind being unable to wear boots or helmets was a nuisance, albeit one that made sense.
They never seem more out of place than in Skyrim however. Cold blooded Argonians in the freezing north? Desert dwelling Khajiit treading the snow instead of the warm sands they adore? There are opportunities for them both in the proud nation, more so than for the displaced Dunmer who are hated and shunned by the more nationalist Nords, but I cannot imagine that any one of them would rather be anywhere but home.
Okay, now will you kindly stop sending me pictures of Jelly Jiggler? I understand he’s pretty weird, but we’ve been through this: Some series are just too weird to have any one unfitting character. But alas, we’re done with weirding everyone out with these rather odd characters who happen to just be there. It’s time for you all to help us for our next Top 10 – I wonder how fitting these selections will be?
That’s it for this week, we can finally stop thinking about the evil that is Giygas. Hopefully, we’ll be saved by the unbeatable Squirrel Girl and who knows… Perhaps Chiaotzu will finally have a new use. But what did you make of this really rather unfitting list? Did we do good, or did we do bad? Did we order the list the way you would have? As always, let us know what you think in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit.
The title says it all folks, that’s right – if you’ve not heard the news, then you’re certainly missing out on some cartoon capers. DC are producing a bunch of comics where their heroes and villains will be facing off against the heroes and villains of Looney Tunes. Does it sound too gimmicky to be true, or do you think this goofy idea is too good to be true? Well, let’s go into some detail about what we know about these comics so far and what there is to look forward to in the coming months as we wait for more information.
They come in peace – But other times they come to turn your land into pieces, or just evaporated all together. Aliens are a tricky subject to get right; Do you make them into an evil species whose sole purpose is to cause carnage and mayhem? Or perhaps you turn them into a long forgotten race who is looking for their way in the cruel, dark universe. Whatever you like to think of when you think of an alien, there’s no doubt there’s many of them in pop culture.
A world gone awry, a land desecrated. People and creatures sparse and cultures completely gone to waste, this is a list of those worlds that we remember. Not just words: But these are Dystopian Worlds. It doesn’t matter how the world around them is falling apart. It could have been ravaged by rambunctious aliens, or it could have been war gone wrong. Perhaps nukes have gone off and all that’s left are wastelands, or perhaps they live in a bleak future, where people depend on substance to survive. All we know is that the lands we’ve chosen today are our Top 10 Dystopian Worlds.
These vicious villains typically rule over their people through fear, oppression, cruelty and downright nastiness. They’re menacing, they’re daunting and imposing people in their own way – Sometimes through reputation, but often through physical violence or threats that even the most prestigious of world leaders wouldn’t be able to get away with. Cruelty is the name of the game in this weeks’ Top 10 Tyrants.
We took a little bit of liberty with the meaning behind a tyrant for this list. We took it to mean someone who rules over something; so it doesn’t have to be a definitive leader of a race, or over a land – They could rule over their peons in sweatshops, or over those who are their minor.
Hiding one’s face from either a brutal deformity, or possessing some amazing powers and contain whole entities, such as demons and gods. But don’t let that put you off donning a mask, whether it was this past Monday on Halloween, or if you just want to cosplay as a character with a mask, we’ve got just the list for you.
So come and join us as we celebrate those who would shroud their faces, as we don’t need to see their full features to appreciate who they are. This is our Top 10 Masks list and you’d better believe these guys have nothing to hide.
10) Roadhog – Overwatch
Starting lightly, Roadhog is a character from Blizzards universally acclaimed team shooter title. Although Roadhog can be described as anything but light, there isn’t too much to say about this individual. Massive health, massive size and a very smart theme to the destructive brute, this piggy certainly will be hooking you and blowing your head off with his shotgun.
He can’t score much higher due to the fact he’s just one character from a very diverse range of characters. In a game where a hulking brute is second fiddle to a scout-like character who sparked controversy due to the way she stood, Roadhog is a giant amongst mortals. But, even with his incredible size, it’s not enough to topple the rest of the list. Still, we love his snout-esque gas mask!
9) Aku Aku – Crash Bandicoot
A powerful mask which comes to the aid of Crash and Coco in their times of need, Aku Aku is a sort of guardian spirit in mask form. When the two bandicoots are in trouble and in dire need of a friend, Aku Aku is there, floating around them to take the damage for them. He’s selfless and he’s brave; he’s smart and he’s wise – this mask is exactly who you’d like to find floating around next to you.
Whether it’s his massive wooden eyebrows, or whether it’s his calming voice, you can bet that Aku Aku will find a way to help you succeed. Collect three of him and you’ll be slicing through the enemies like you’re a knife through butter. After the third Aku Aku power-up is obtained, you become invincible for a limited amount of time, instantly killing all enemies. However, that doesn’t stop you dying to falling from great heights…
8) Jacket – Hotline Miami
Critical acclaim aside, Hotline Miami was kind of a big deal in the world of indie games. Playing through this gritty title as Jacket, whenever you start a level with him, you typically have to choose a mask for him to roam around in. Of course for fans of the franchise, the most iconic mask is Richard the Rooster, which brings no benefit to the player, but it’s a damn rooster mask and seeing that before you get shot up is pretty much terrifying.
Hotline Miami took the world by storm and people have even come to our meetups wearing a Rooster mask ala Hotline Miami. So as Jacket receives instructions to go and take down the shady underworld of Miami in the 1980s, he must take with him a mask. The one I recognise the most is the pig mask, which is featured prominently on most of the artwork of the game. It’s brutal, it’s bloody and it’s downright fun sending criminals to their graves! Oh justice…
7) Masked Man – Mother 3
Spoilers in the video
Fans of Earthbound and the Mother franchise rejoice, I could not forget about the highly important scenes of the Masked Man from Mother 3. If you’ve never played Mother 3 because you cannot read Japanese, I can basically explain what happens but this is a very spoilery part. If you intend to play this game and don’t want to know what happens, your spoiler warning is incoming… 3, 2, 1…
So in Mother 3, you play as Lucas. After you seemingly lost your brother due to a freak accident, your father Flint goes on an emotional rampage. Lucas, alone and afraid, sets out in the scary world, often encountering this horrible person, known only as the Masked Man. He was incredibly strong and seemingly quite young too, able to take out your whole party single handedly. Your life is only spared by your Franklin Badge, which deflects all lightning damage to the caster. Learning of this item, the Masked Man flees time and time again.
But then, during the climax of the game, something happens. The Masked Man remembers who he was… No, who he is. He was Claus, your long lost brother. He slowly remembers in the middle of a fight with Lucas. It’s then that he finally feels as if all the weight of the world has been lifted from him. He realises the terrible crimes he’s committed in the name of a false idol… And he takes off his mask. Revealing himself as your brother, he smiles and finally casts his one last lightning attack.
Claus took mortal damage.
There, that wasn’t so hard was it..? Who’s cutting onions in here?
6) Vega – Street Fighter
Or Balrog, depending on what language you play in, Vega is a Spanish narcissist whose mask is as iconic as the claw blades he wields in combat. Fighting for beauty alone, the mask serves to protect his face from hideously disfiguring wounds or worse, blood splatter from his victims temporarily marring his glory. He has a loathing of the ugly, and goes to rather unpleasant extremes of violence and aggression when attacking anyone that does not meet his high standards.
It’s fairly understandable of course, after seeing his mother killed by an ugly man and fixating upon that as a symbol of evil, and beauty as emblematic of heroism and bravery. The only alteration he has made to his own appearance are tattoos that mark him as a villain, iconic of his gang ties and associations with M. Bison’s super-mafia, Shadaloo. His face however is to remain unblemished… although I’d be seriously intrigued to see what happens if he ever gets scarred.
I’m going to take a few moments to try and compose myself, I shamelessly preordered the second game so I can play it a day early and I’m not ashamed of that fact. To the point though:
Dishonored delivered a stealth gaming that the most recent Thief title simply couldn’t, and while the mask is not what won it a BAFTA or earned it a sequel (starring Stephen Russell of the original Thief Trilogy as Corvo Attano) it shapes that game in a rather iconic way. The skull like vision came to the visionary Piero Joplin in a dream – no doubt visited upon him by the enigmatic Outsider – in which he claims death himself stared back at him.
Aside from becoming an icon of fear amongst the Dunwall aristocracy, Corvo’s mask serves to protect his face, his identity, contains a handy zoom function, and also represents a little of himself too, a fractured personality who bears the spectre of death, and the decision whether or not to bring that spectre down upon the heads of those who made him appear to be a murderer.
4) Guy Fawkes/V
Seasonal, I know, but the nature of Guy Fawkes has rather changed over the years as general mistrust in politics grows, and rebellion struggles against the comfortable chains of cushioned lifestyles. In the comic V for Vendetta we are introduced to a man who adopts the face of that famous failed terrorist who was caught before managing to blow up parliament. He has taken on the personal mission to finish what his adopted likeness began.
Hugo Weaving superbly delivered the character to us in the 2005 film, and it’s no small feat to perform behind a fixed smile. Yet we are given rage, passion, calculation, sorrow, and joy, all concealed so cunningly behind that vicarious visage, and delivered through subtleties of movement, measured words and timed silences. Little wonder that the face replaced the green morph suit that had once represented the more anarchic divisions of the Anonymous anti-establishment movement.
3) Jason Voorhees
The truest masked murderer of all, Jason Voorhees is one of the world’s most iconic characters in any medium. A true slasher icon, a horrific and terrifying presence and all in all, an amazingly memorable design. The hockey mask came to represent the fear that he brought, rather than the sport the mask was designed for. Of course, he’s not the only masked murderer around. The concept of a masked killer however is a rather hard one to judge.
Whether you’re a fan of Friday 13th and feel Jason is well placed, or if you think Leatherface or Halloween’s “The Shape” are a better candidate (I.E Michael Myers), there’s no doubt that the masked murderer trope is huge. But who do YOU feel is the best masked murderer of them all? Here’s a tiny sample and you guys can shape what this part should look like:
We’ll check back to see how many votes each one got by Monday and we’ll see who you all deemed to be the best masked murderer of them all!
2) Majora’s Mask
What can we say, other than the fact that this mask is not only titular to the whole game, but it was featured in one of the most important RPGs ever to be released? You take up the helm of Link once more, going about your heroic deeds to go and save Hyrule… But oh my, you’ve been met with a terrible fate, haven’t you?
Majora’s Mask features many different masks, from the amazing Deku Scrub, through to the Majora’s Mask itself. The looming creepy moon, the feeling of impending doom you feel as you play this game is simply staggering… And it’s made even worse as you’re presented with various scenes where Skull Kid is wreaking his havoc upon the land. This was one of those games that shook the very foundations of what video games could be… And it got a very fitting re-birth in terms of its 3DS remake.
1) The Mask
Jim Carrey I would label as an acquired taste. He has his style and it is the over-the-top goofy exaggeration of everything that one might call over acting if he weren’t so very good at it. It may seem odd to some that he’d be chosen to play a man possessed by a mass murdering green mask known simply as Big Head. Oh yes, the original Dark Horse comics painted Stanley Ipkiss a very different shade of green, lots more blood, gore and violence than you’d want from the family friendly version we got to see.
There’s surprisingly little overlap between the two, Stanley Ipkiss finds a mask that possesses him, gives him incredible power that helps him secure the woman he loves, take down some mobsters and generally be a glorious anti-hero. The character was originally a cross between The Joker and Jekyll and Hyde, and would never have samba’d his way free of an army of cops.
There’s a whole world of trivia to delve into with these two, from the differing origin stories, to the spin-off where DC’s Joker gets to don the Mask. But if you loved the film as a kid like we did then get your hands on some comics, because things get a whole lot weirder.
Of course masks are a rather hard concept to get your head around, (or indeed into). Where does the definition of a mask end and a helmet begin? It’s hard to say, but what we know is none of our list are considered to be wearing a helmet. Perhaps a helmet needs to be a hard construct which covers the entire head? Either way, in definition of the worlds they’re from, these characters are all masked or are masks. Nevertheless, here’s some more masked goodness for you!
Kanohi – Bionicle
Following a short burst of “edgy” toys directed at older kids within the Technik range, Lego struck collectible gold with the masked warriors, the Bionicle. The Toa were powerful heroes washed up on the isle of Mata Nui, gathered their masks of power and set about saving a world they barely knew. Each mask gave them a unique strength,ability, and a certain distinctive style too. And they weren’t alone either, generations of Toa followed over the years (and are still being released today) all with their own mask collections.
Mask powers vary, from simple strength, and speed, all the way to manipulation of space, time, the very minds around you. The Bionicle range came under some controversy for using the names of Maori gods and similar use of their language, Kanohi itself is the Maori word for face, but the series endured, and now we see a leviathan range that only now seems to show signs of stopping.
Did you ever wonder exactly how easy it would be to make people think you’re someone else? I know everyone makes a huge thing out of Superman’s alter ego basically being him in glasses, but he puts on a tremendous act for Clark Kent, let’s not forget those heroes who cut holes in a sleep mask and thought they’d be safe from ever being identified. Who is that recognisable by their cheekbones and eyebrows that a tiny bit of black felt is going to function as a disguise.
Robin/Nightwing, Green Lantern, The Phantom, Mockingbird, Black Cat, Black Canary, I mean really guys, come on, I know everyone rips on Clark for adjusting his quiff and ditching the tie in a phone booth, but really are you doing any better? Kudos if you get the ones that also turn your eyes into shiny white orbs, not sure how you’re doing that, but honestly, half a job can sometimes be worse than doing no job at all.
And, y’know, thanks for saving the world a bunch of times I guess.
That’s it, I’ve covered myself long enough and now I’m about ready to reveal my true identity. I’d not turn a blind eye to what you, our beloved readers, have to say on the matter. Whether you think some of these don’t fully constitute as masks, or if you think that we’ve not unmasked enough of these characters for you to decide, that’s all down to you to let us know… But before you do, could you spare a moment and vote for one of these three for next weeks’ Top 10?
Now that I’ve finally revealed myself to all of you, it’s up to you to take a good look. Sure, these heroes and villains may be a bunch of misfits to you and me, but they’re ultimately the best chance we have. What do you think of our list this week? Do you think we’ve forgotten some rather important masked characters and have to tell us? Do you think we ordered some of these the wrong way around? Did you seriously not think of “The Mask” when you thought of “Top 10 Masks”? Let us know what you thought in the comments below, or over on Facebook, Twitter or Reddit. As usual, keep your suggestions pouring in!