FGC #600 Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes: Part 1

This is Marvel vs. Capcom 2Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes is an amazing, once in a lifetime game that brings together over 50 characters from wildly disparate worlds and franchises. So, in an effort to pay tribute to one of the games I believe to be the greatest of all time, please enjoy a five-day, 100% complete, generally alphabetical look at every fighter in Marvel vs. Capcom 2.

Akuma

Sorry, Final FantasyWhat a great place to start! Akuma was the first Capcom fighting game character to “crossover” with another franchise, as he appeared in X-Men: Children of the Atom as a hidden fighter. And this was apropos for this Atropos, as Akuma started his career as a secret character in the original Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo while parodying/referencing a fake secret character that was canonically a dude he killed before the game ever started. Or… as of Street Fighter 4, never killed at all. Whatever! What you need to know is that Akuma is a (literally) killer martial artist that has murdered multiple Street Fighters. Mind you, every one of his confirmed kills has returned as only “mostly dead” in later titles, though, so Akuma is just terrible at assassinating with that assassin’s fist.

Note that Akuma has appeared with a couple of different variants over the years. Shin Akuma is meant to represent Akuma in the full flush of his powers (and evoke memories of his initial, nigh-invincible incarnation). Meanwhile, Oni is meant to represent an Akuma where the designers of Street Fighter 4 completely ran out of ideas. More relevant to this article, though, is Cyber Akuma, a “weaponized” version of Akuma created by Apocalypse during crossover shenanigans. Cyber Akuma does not appear in MvC2, but he does live on, shooting a variety of missiles in/at our hearts.

Amingo

Go go cactus manCaptain Planet and the Planeteers was the story of a blue/green fellow that was created exclusively for the purpose of saving our precious Earth. Captain Planet’s purpose was to prove to children that lootin’ ‘n pollutin’ was not the way, and our world must be defended from malcontents that wish to exploit our natural resources for their own gains. Captain Planet thus starred in 113 episodes of a popular television series that premiered new episodes from 1990-1996. Whether Captain Planet successfully saved the world or not, he did make an indelible impression on a generation, and his persistent echoes in various Adult Swim programs confirms this apparent fact. And the (real life) Captain Planet Foundation maintains his message to this very day.

Amingo is absolutely everything Captain Planet ever was, plus he’s a shapeshifting, asexually reproducing cactus wearing a sombrero. And he plays guitar! Captain Planet’s music skills are suspect at best. Unfortunately, though, Amingo did not obtain a lucrative contract with Ted Turner, and only ever starred in one videogame.

Maybe this world isn’t worth saving.

Anakaris

The mummy manI would like to address the full breadth of the plot of Darkstalkers, but no one is ready for that. The best I can give you is a partial biography of Anakaris, former pharaoh of Egypt, and current god of at least one Capcom universe. In a fight, he is the goofy golden dude that has stretchy arms. In the actual canon plot of Darkstalkers, however, Anakaris has proven he can foresee his own death, resurrect, travel backwards and forwards through time, and then eventually drop his entire kingdom into a random stratum of the Earth before deciding to simply hop dimensions. Yet, somehow, he occasionally loses fights to a dog with a pair of nunchakus. Heavy is the head that wears the crown when you are routinely bested by a fishman.

Baby Bonnie “B.B.” Hood

SLASHThe scariest monster in all of Darkstalkers is a human. Get it?! It’s man! Man is the real monster! I mean, assuming that “man” is a woman with an anachronistic uzi and the ability to summon multiple bazooka toting gunmen. B.B. Hood’s faux cuteness is meant to contrast with the generally scary-but-friendly cast of Darkstalkers, and that same juxtapositioning works now that she’s taking her poison picnic basket up against the likes of Shuma Gorath and Venom. Everybody knows that the multi-angled, multi-tentacled god of madness that has conquered dimensions is secretly a big softie, and blondes with toy puppies are the real monsters.

Hey, Twilight Zone twists, maybe you don’t work so well when actual monsters are running around.

Blackheart

I know that guyAh, our first “we decided to include the bad guy because the hero was too annoying to animate” character is also our first Marvel representative. Back in the day, Marvel was desperately afraid of the Comic’s Code Authority, and could do nothing so bold as, say, acknowledge the very concept of the Christian Hell. It was good enough for Dante, but not for Smilin’ Stan Lee. So Hell became the Netherworld, and Satan was represented by an especially red dude named Mephisto. And because Mephisto was a very busy guy, he transformed a noted serial killer into his “dark” son, Blackheart. And then, because Marvel only has like six actual concepts in the House of Ideas, Blackheart was slightly depowered and sent to Earth to learn humility (no hammers were involved, though). And then, at some point, he started running a casino with knock-off Venom bodyguards. The dude has had a varied afterlife. Through it all, though, he’s had general issues with Ghost Rider, and is one of the main antagonists of that whole Heck crowd.

Also, we’re five characters in, and we’re at 50% for “fighter is often portrayed as nigh-omnipotent, but loses all the time”. Hopefully we won’t see that trope again. Who is next on the… goddammit.

Nathaniel Christopher Charles Dayspring Askani’son Summers aka Cable

Get 'em, StormWe do not have time for this guy to be number six on the list. There are like fifty other entries here! Let’s hit the important bits:

  1. Cable is the son of Jean Gray and Cyclops. As psychic powers + eye lasers = the greatest superpower combination known to man, Cable has telekinetic/telepathic powers on par with some cosmic deities.
  2. Or at least he would, if he wasn’t infected at birth with a techno-organic virus. As a result, Cable has had to use his considerable powers to keep the virus at bay for years, lest he turn into a Beast Machine or something.
  3. And, in order to get this virus under control, he was sent a/the future which was incidentally a little less “Utopia Future”, and more “Terminator Future”.
  4. But don’t worry! His parents and sister came along, too, as “reincarnated” psychic imprints. Or something.
  5. And then he got swole, traveled through time to before he was born, and started coaching a group of kids that were obsessed with something called “blastin’”.
  6. Somewhere in there, he acquired, and then killed, his own evil twin.
  7. And maybe he was a messiah? With his own floating island? And Deadpool?
  8. And then he had a baby. Or stole a baby. And a lot of people were convinced his baby was his mom, or another messiah, but it turned out she was just a redheaded Rogue.
  9. Then he got murdered by his younger self…
  10. And mounted as an armless corpse in a translucent pool table.
  11. But his younger self (“Young Cable”) is still alive, and currently dating a hot psychic. Like his dad.

Anywho, isn’t his one victory animation with the mutant arm cool? Yep. Good guy, that Cable.

Cammy White

Stayin' streetwiseShe’s not omnipotent, but there is certainly some potential here.

Cammy technically started her existence as an amnesiac Englishwoman, but her role was expanded in time for Street Fighter Alpha. Long story short? Cammy is a female clone of M. Bison, and she is one of a handful of M. Bison’s entirely female squad of bodyguards. Now, to be clear, as it currently stands in continuity, the other dolls are not clones, but a bunch of teenagers that were kidnapped from around the world. Cammy is definitely a clone, though, and she is forever connected to M. Bison/a living reminder that Bison has some progressive views on gender fluidity/pigtails. Note that there is at least one more “Cammy” out there, as the previously male/alive Seth attached their consciousness to “Doll Zero”, and survived Street Fighter 4 by dropping into this vacant, female shell. Well, at least we hope it was vacant…

Also! One of the dolls is Juli, originally named Julia, who is a kidnapped member of T. Hawk’s tribe. This is significant, as somehow there are two Native American women named Julia in two of the most prominent fighting franchises out there. And there are, like, three other Native Americans in the genre total!

Anywho, Cammy’s life post-dollification has been uneventful. I mean, like, okay, it is technically eventful, what with continually fighting masked Spanish ninja and cyclopean cyborg dominatrices, but it is pretty typical Street Fighter fare. She is usually seen fighting with Guile and Chun-Li against the malevolent forces of Shadaloo, and we’ve nary had so much as an evil relapse to give Cammy some additional character development. And that’s not bad! Let the woman just beat up bad guys and rescue cats from alleys!

Oh! Wait! There was that time she starred in a videogame named after her special moves… but she was also fighting on rollerblades with an ancient knight and a super fighting robot… so… that was probably a fever dream…

Steve “Captain America” Rogers

Use that frisbeeLet’s talk about power creep in relation to popularity.

As most anyone with eyeballs is aware, Captain America was the first and theoretically only person to receive the Super-Soldier Serum in the Marvel Universe. This granted courageous-but-weak Steve Rogers a whole new decidedly-not-weak body. The premise of the serum was simple, too, as it was supposed to graduate any human to “peak physical condition”, and that is the exact physical condition you would want for a guy you are going to send to punch Hitler in the face. Somewhere in there, he got a shield that doubled as the most lethal frisbee in history, and Cap went on to end World War II and wind up on ice for his troubles.

And then Captain America got a bit of an upgrade.

Steve Rogers was found frozen in a glacier by noted wannabe nudist Sub-Mariner, and then ol’ twinkle ankles started fighting the Avengers, and yada yada yada Captain America was back in action to lead the Avengers. Only issue? Steve was less the Superman of the group, and more of a Batman. He was the stock “human who is just good at pushups” to match the man in flying armor, the jerk that can turn 30 ft tall, and a literal god wielding a thunderous hammer. And, additional bad news for America: having a genius tactical mind is not visually interesting on a good day, and it is not even that useful when one of the other chaps on your team is a literal genius tech mogul. You can’t be the Batman on the team when there’s already a Batman Beyond!

So Captain America went back to his nerdy roots and got swole over summer vacation while nobody was looking. Somewhere around the time Cap starting routinely fighting aliens in space, he apparently gained the ability to go toe-to-toe with the likes of mad titans and cosmic embodiments of the cosmos. Now, this “peak of fitness” routinely holds his own against monsters that give the Hulk issues, but it’s cool, because something something super soldier. He’s a lot more super than he used to be.

Maybe this is because of that time he was mutated into a giant spider that was capable of laying eggs to hatch additional giant spiders. I mean, we really don’t know the full ramifications of that

Mars “Captain Commando“ Carlisle

Monster!Okay! Easy one! Captain Commando only ever “for real” starred in one game, and it was (naturally) Captain Commando. He is the leader of a Commando Team that consists of a ninja, a street-smart mummy alien (he wears his baseball cap backwards!), and a super genius baby that rides his own, self-made mech (this baby mech is also capable of riding other, larger mechs). Captain Commando is the story of said commandos fighting a crime syndicate in the far-flung future of five years from now. Since technology makes a significant leap during Eric Trump’s presidential administration, Captain Commando has access to all sorts of cool gadgets, like hand-held missile launchers, or some kind of electro gauntlet.

Note that Captain Commando was originally intended to be Capcom America’s most prominent mascot (Captain Commando… get it?), but the whole “only ever got one game” thing paled before the likes of Mega Man and Ryu, each of whom appeared in a new game every other week. Additionally, Captain Commando is supposed to live in Metro City(‘s future), but recent games have made references to characters from Street Fighter playing Captain Commando. What does this mean? Clearly, that Captain Commando is not a “canon” person, but someone from a fiction within a fiction of the Street Fighter/Final Fight universe. I swear this has happened before.

Regardless of his fictionality or not, Captain Commando has the odd distinction of being the only Metro City representative in Marvel vs. Capcom 2. This is in heavy contrast to Street Fighter 5 drawing from Haggar’s home quite a bit…

Charlie Nash

He is not named BalrogSo there was a good idea here: Guile is established in Street Fighter 2 as fighting M. Bison because his beloved-but-not-that-kind-of-beloved-we’re-trying-to-appeal-to-heterosexual-Americans-here friend and comrade, Charlie, was killed by M. Bison. This is excellent motivation for a character, and a lot better characterization than, say, E. Honda, and his reason for fighting being “you interrupted bath time”. Then, after the success of Street Fighter 2, the SF Universe’s next destination was Street Fighter Alpha, which was initially half anime promotion, and half Street Fighter 2 prequel. And that’s cool! That means we can actually see Charlie before his fateful fall to Bison! Great!

Only issue: we knew what was going to happen to Charlie Nash. Everyone knew what was going to happen to Charlie Nash. It was (kinda) the whole point of the Street Fighter movie! It was noted in instruction booklets! If you went out for a coffee with Guile, like, once, he would find a way to work his dead comrade into the conversation! We all knew what was going to happen to Charlie!

And, in the ending of Street Fighter Alpha Warriors’ Dreams, M. Bison launched a sneak attack, and Charlie died.

And, in the ending of Street Fighter Alpha 2, M. Bison had an attack helicopter at the ready, and Charlie died.

And, in the ending of Street Fighter Alpha 3, M. Bison came back from the dead, but was ultimately defeated, and Charlie survived.

But, then, in Cannon Spike, Charlie got caught up in a fight with Vega, and died while Mega Man complimented his dog.

And, years later, Street Fighter 5 confirmed that Street Fighter Alpha 2 had the canon ending, as SF5 starts with Charlie dying via helicopter, and then reaches a grand finale with Charlie dying again.

So here lies Charlie Nash, mentor to Guile. The X-Men ain’t got nuttin on this guy’s resurrections.

Chun-Li

Chunners!I guess she’s a videogame character?

Look, Chun-Li is Street Fighter’s banner gal. Possibly even more than Ken, Chun-Li is the “other” face of Street Fighter, and she has appeared in (nearly) every Street Fighter game and (nearly) every “there is fighting here” style Capcom crossover. She has fought everyone and everything, and her lightning kick is considered “hers”. You literally cannot have a character in a videogame kick quickly without an immediate comparison to Chunners. Jackie Chan cosplayed as her! She cameoed in a Disney movie! I’m pretty sure my undead grandma could identify Chun-Li!

But, past her popularity, there isn’t much there there.

Chun-Li wants to avenge her father’s death at the hands of M. Bison’s Tuesday itinerary. So, to do that, she becomes a cop. Or an international superspy? Or some kind of super DEO agent? She gets around! And, while her original characterization seemed to toy with the idea of her “getting over” her father’s death after defeating Bison and becoming a “normal girl” (Street Fighter 2 ending) or a mom/teacher (Street Fighter 3 plot), all future characterization seems to focus on her becoming an eternal super cop.

And that’s fine! International policing offers a pretty traditional career goal for a videogame character and gives her an excuse to kick people until the end of time. Complete with crossover events, Chun-Li has become not only an avenger of magical despots, but also a defender of Earth that will lightning kick Galactus straight out of the solar system. Awesome! But what else does she do? Does she have any hobbies? Interests? Family? We know she is friendly with the neighborhood skateboard twins, and she has at least one purple-clad assassin in her contacts, but does she have, like, a mom? Does she have any opinions that are not Shadaloo-related? I’m not asking for the unauthorized biography of Chun-Li here, but she has had two live-action movies and decades worth of featured appearances.

Oh? Checking the wiki here, and we have… let’s see here. Well, we know she likes crepes, and… her measurements. We know her measurements, and any changes in measurements between Street Fighter Alpha and Street Fighter 2. Super. Great development there, guys. Keep up the good work.

Next time on FGC #600 Marvel vs. Capcom 2: Part 2: Cyclops is the Dan of the X-Men. Also, Dan.

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