12th May2017

‘Tekken #1′ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Cavan Scott | Art by Andie Tong | Published by Titan Comics

Tekken_01_COVER_D_GAME_COVER

Tekken is one of those names that I’m sure most people recognise, even those who don’t go in for gaming. Tekken has been around for over two decades, and I’m sure most of us have played a game or two over the years. Although not a rabid fan, I have enjoyed several of the games but even I would admit that turning very superficial archetypal characters into living, breathing characters in comic book form may be a tough ask. Two plus points off the bat though. A quick potted history and character bios at the front of the book were a great help, and the video game design was a nice touch. I still love the Johhny Bravo of Tekken, Paul Phoenix. Best. Hair. Ever.

For those that came in late don’t worry, this is not Shakespeare. The Mishima family has long been fighting amongst itself for control of the Mishima Zabatsu Corporation, hence the King of Iron Fist Tournament that puts the best fighters in the world up against each other. The last owner of the corporation had been Jin Kazama, one of the good guys. Unfortunately, he’s disappeared so ownership has gone to Heihachi Mishima, most definitely not a good guy. There are many other characters that come and go in Tekken, some good, some bad, most just happy to concentrate of their own goals regardless. It’s fun stuff.

The first half of the book lets you know this title is not going to try and reinvent the wheel, it’s going to stick to what it does best. Fighting, and lots of it. Straight away we get a throw down between sisters Anna (kind of bad) and Nina Williams (kind of good), while Paul Phoenix helps to rescue Ling Kiaoyu and Panda, her bodyguard. That’s Panda as in a real Panda. Pretty cool, right? Turns out Anna is working for G Corporation, specifically Kazuya Mishima, trying to locate the missing Jin Kazama, and thought Ling could help. Kazuya’s corporation is a rival to Mishima Zabatsu, and Kazuya is the father of Jin, and son of Heihachi, now controlling that other corporation. They all hate each other.

Paul and Nina take Ling to The Hida Mountains, where King and Yoshimitsu, (two other game characters) are waiting. More surprising is the presence of Jin, in very bad shape but alive. He needs help. Now that Heihachi has taken control of the corporation he has access to Jin’s weapon and artifact archive, which includes Artefact 333, a mysterious and powerful item that he must not find. Just as we are about to learn why this needs retrieving, we realise why Anna Williams wasn’t too worried at losing Ling and Nina earlier. Panda had had a tracker planted on it, and Jin’s hiding place has been discovered. Fight, anyone?

The ‘in your face’ style and game-evoking art here suit the brash and over the top style of the Namco games perfectly. The visuals are pretty good and need to be, as the writing and plot is pretty minimal. Which, when you think about it, is pretty much a good summary of the game. I commented earlier that this is not exactly Shakespeare, but in a funny way it kind of is. Running through the story when you strip away the fighting and fantastical elements is the theme of family, and family conflict. Can’t get much more Shakespearean than that. Never thought the words Shakespeare and Tekken would appear in the same sentence, but there you go.

This first issue achieves what it sets out to, which is establish the characters, give them a reason to take sides and fight, and perhaps add a little substance to their fairly generic personalities. Cavan Scott does as good a job as you could expect, and Andie Tong delivers the brash, action packed, fighting oriented art you would expect. Solid, but not spectacular. The hard part now that all the world building has been established is to push on and make us care about these characters and their lives. So let’s… (read this in a booming voice)…

‘Get Ready for the Next Battle’. (Little Tekken cut-scene in joke there).

*** 3/5

Tekken #1 is out now from Titan Comics.

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