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Friday, March 19, 2021 

Apex Legends is the latest game adapted to comic, but another project in reverse just keeps overusing a known comics franchise

IGN's reported that Dark Horse is doing an adaptation of the Apex Legends video game:
The world of Apex Legends is rich with lore, but the frantic, fast-paced nature of a battle royale shooter doesn't necessarily allow for a story-driven experience. That's where Apex Legends: Overtime comes in. This comic book spinoff digs deeper into the Apex: Legends/Titanfall universe for a story that brings all 16 Legends together for a common goal.
That's fine in itself if they want to adapt computer game franchises to four color panels on paper. But this article also mentions something that may be the other way around, involving Fortnite:
Apex Legends isn't the only battle royale game getting the comic book treatment in 2021. DC and Epic have teamed up for Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point, a comic book crossover that includes new cosmetic items to use in the game. IGN recently spoke with the creative team to learn more about how Batman is helping to expand the Fortnite multiverse.
Let me take a moment to say this honestly made me sigh in weariness, due to the vast overuse Batman's undergone in more than a decade, at Superman's expense (not to mention various other characters whose worlds usually worked better with optimism). Seeing this news, I thought to take a look at the interview with the Fortnite team - which includes film and comics scribe Christos Gage - to see what was said. For example:
...Batman/Fortnite: Zero Point is a comic book, first and foremost, and one that promises to reveal plenty about the mythology of the Fortnite universe even as it drags Batman, Catwoman and Harley Quinn to The Island.

To get a better sense of how this series will capitalize on these two pop culture juggernauts, we turned to writer Christos Gage and story consultant/Epic's Chief Creative Officer Donald Mustard. [...]

"As we were really early in the process of starting to build the Fortnite story, there were elements where other realities come into play. And Batman was one of the very first characters I was hoping to be able to bring into that," Mustard said. "And so we approached DC pretty early. I mean, this is years ago and I was saying, 'Here's our planning and here's how the story of Fortnite works, and here's how Batman could fit into that.'"
Yes, because it's always Batman who matters today, and almost nobody else. The glaring emphasis is stunning. And wouldn't you know it, Harley Quinn's also on board. It goes without saying the Masked Manhunter's a pretty cheap, obvious choice compared to some lesser known characters like the Golden Age Wildcat and his lady protege Yolanda Montez, a member of Infinity Inc. Why, come to think of it, besides those two, why not cast some of the members of the aforementioned team along with them as well? Or how about Vixen? It could help introduce people to an overlooked part of comics history. Alas, they never think about those, and never care. This is the sad result when history is selectively obscured.
According to Mustard, the game's early DC crossovers came about mostly through conversations with DC's Chief Creative Officer Jim Lee. Over time, their conversations shifted toward building a bigger and more focused narrative, which is basically the genesis of Zero Point. And as it turns out, Gage was Mustard's first and really only choice to script the series.

"This is really a core Batman story," said Mustard. "And at least with the story I've been thinking about for what would be a really cool lens into the character Batman and into Catwoman and their relationship. And so we had this arc that we'd thought through, and how it could tie into some of the Fortnite things that were going on and the timeframe where the comic takes place. And, I read a bunch of Chris' work, and especially your stuff you did on G.I. Joe, which I love so much. I thought that art, that work was so impressive."

Mustard also had plenty of praise for series artists Reilly Brown and Christian Duce, as they both tackle the challenge of merging the dark and moody world of Batman with Fortnite's colorful (if equally violent) realm.
Predictably, mayhem is the name of the game here, which honestly puts the entertainment merit under a question mark. At least the designer speaks favorably about GI Joe. But it doesn't excuse that this is another example of lazy medium combination projects relying on the most laughably obvious choices for character casting, not to mention the dark angle it's built on. Something Lee unfortunately seems to have backed for a long time. Much as I'd like to think a game franchise might do a better job spotlighting Batman and Catwoman's relations, the commercial/corporate bias in favor of the former as a vision for entertainment clouds everything. Of course, chances are that, if the focus was Superman and Lois Lane's relationship, you'd hear very little about this project.

In the end, though I may have played with games of the genre Fortnite belongs to years ago, I've grown awfully tired of them today, and would rather avoid them. Especially when this kind of PC marketing takes the place of genuine creativity.

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What did you think of the new Superman and Lois tv show, or Vixen's role in Legends of Tomorrow?

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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