It’s surprising to think that in spite of how many times Capcom has made video games featuring Marvel characters, there has been little reciprocation from the comic book powerhouse. Granted, this is probably due to so many of the licensing rights for Capcom properties belonging to other publishers. But one would think that there could have at least been some sort of Marvel vs. Capcom mini-series of comics. As it stands, the only time that an official comic of the fighting game graced store shelves was a preorder bonus with Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Released in February 2011, Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was the first of the fighting game series that was exclusive to home consoles. The previous seven installments of the Versus series had a strong arcade presence, but MvC3 had to prove itself a success in the home market before it could transition to the arcade world (spoiler: it didn’t). A special edition of the game was made with bonus material, which included a steel-book case, redemption codes for two bonus characters, a 1-month subscription to Marvel Digital Comics, and a 12-page prologue comic book.
The prologue comic was named Fate of Two Worlds, after the subtitle of its parent video game. The story was written by Frank Tieri, who has worked on several Marvel series such as Iron Man, Wolverine, and Deadpool. The artwork was handled by other Marvel collaborators, including Kevin Sharpe (Xtreme X-Men) and Rob Stull (Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man). Most of the comic is spent introducing various characters from the video game and briefly touching on the villains’ motivation in this cross-over (they want to conquer both worlds).
It seems that Albert Wesker (who is listed as, “Former Umbrella Corp Mad Scientist”) has figured out a way to bridge the gap between the Marvel and Capcom universes. Wesker offers this technology to Dr. Doom, who has assembled a team of classic villains who want nothing more than to open a portal and start an invasion. But without an absurd amount of energy, this legion of doom cannot sustain a doorway large enough for their forces. Ever the strategist, Super Skrull offers a solution: siphon the energy from the interstellar cruiser owned by Galactus. The group decides that provoking the Devourer of Worlds seems safe enough, and move forward with their plan. Meanwhile, all sorts of dimensional rifts have been popping up between the worlds; dropping random fighters into unknown territory. The Incredible Hulk jumps into the world of Resident Evil, narrowly saving Jill and Chris from an Executioner Majini by doing what he does best (smashing bad guys). Other Capcom characters pop up in New York City, where they are engaged by Wolverine, Iron Man, and Deadpool. As the group begins to fight, assuming each group is hostile, Galactus shows up, feeling rather insulted that someone has tried to mess with his ship. The comic ends with a classic “To Be Continued,” which presumably leads right into Marvel vs. Capcom 3’s arcade mode.
In addition to the prologue comic, this pre-order printing also serves as a mini-artbook for Marvel vs. Capcom 3. There is a section showing off in-game renditions of every character, which feature heavy shading and fierce poses. Following the character poses is a collection of artwork from the advertising campaign. These pieces are gorgeous mash-ups of characters from both worlds drawn by Capcom illustrator Toshiaki Mori. Better known as Shinkiro, this artist has provided character designs and cover art for a pile of video games, including Samurai Shodown, Metal Slug, and Dead Rising. The final portions of the art book contain promotional and fan art by a bevy of famous artists, such as Alvin Lee (Udon Comics), Kinu Nishimura(Street Fighter 2), and Miho Mori (Ghost Trick). While most of the artwork featured in this mini book is little more than character class photos, seeing the different art styles and portrayals of each fighter makes for a fun comparison.
Back when Marvel vs. Capcom 3 was hitting the home consoles, there were rumors of a tie-in comic that would be soon to follow. Capcom had teased the idea of Udon Comics creating a four-to-twelve issue series that would chronicle the more epic matches of the video game world. Alas, the series never came to be. Udon did collaborate with Capcom to produce Marvel vs. Capcom: Official Complete Works, a 192-page book that contains all sorts of artwork from every Capcom-produced Marvel title, spanning from The Punisher arcade game to Ultimate MVC3. But for those of us who wanted to see all sorts of nerdy cross-over silliness in comic book form, at least there’s Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness.