Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Subspace Emissary, Part the Third

OK, let's get back to the action, shall we? We left off with Diddy Kong (ugh) teamed up with Fox McCloud (yay). There's still about 30 protagonists to go....

Oh, Mother! Middle School is Hell!

The Pig King Statue Targets Lucas:
Cut to a strange grey world of chain-link fences, palm trees, and desolation. A sad-eyed little boy wanders what appears to be an abandoned playground, kicking a soda can. Meet Lucas, hero of Mother 3. Except Lucas is not feeling very heroic right now. Purple spores descend, and Primids surround the whimpering Lucas. Then this bizarro statue of a fat kid wearing a crown, like a fast-food mascot gone wrong, shows up and starts chasing poor Lucas. Lucas screams and runs, the animated statue in pursuit.
Grade: A- Wow, major shift in priorities here. This world is grim, realistic, desaturated of all color and life. And the emotions here are genuine human emotions, instead of cartoon-hero cockiness and slapstick. Things are looking up.

Ness and Porky Face Off:
Lucas runs frantically through the desolate schoolyard, the Pig King statue in pursuit. Lucas trips over what appears to be either a bit of rope or a dead snake (Rope Snake?); he cries out and buries his head in his hands, believing he’s about to meet his death. Out of nowhere, a cry of “PK Thunder” is heard, and a thunderbolt smacks the statue right in the face. The statue crashes to ground. Lucas’s savior touches down in front of him. It’s another little kid, but he has a red baseball cap and a smile. He sparkles as his feet make contact with the earth. Ness! Ness! Ness of Onett, he of the mighty baseball bat and killer yo-yo! Our first Secret Character makes his appearance; up to now, all the protagonists have been the official and public slate of Brawl contestants, the guys featured on the cover art and in the booklet.
Ness levitates and unleashes PK Cross, which obliterates the Pig King statue in a burst of green light and concrete fragments. Surprise! The statue contains a nasty spider-like mecha, powered by... a little fat kid. Ness touches down lightly, and wipes his brow. Ness sparkles. He’s cool, and he’s ready for battle.
Grade: A. Neeeeeeeessss!! It’s Ness! Yay. I love Ness. Seriously, this scene is pretty damn good. You have Lucas, who is too overwrought to unleash whatever powers lie within him, contrasted with Ness, a cool-headed master of his own psychic abilities. I want to see a whole movie about these two.

Lucas Leaves Ness:
A huffing, puffing, Lucas runs up to Ness, who looks fresh as a daisy after his victory over the Pig King. More trouble awaits our heroes-- perched atop a rock formation is Wario, holding his trophy gun.
Wario aims at Ness! He fires! Ness evades once, twice, five times in all! Wario, man of cunning, aims anew at the weaker party, poor dazed Lucas. Ness dives to intercept the hit! Ness goes down! He’s trophyized, folks. Ness of Onett is out of commission.
Wario leaps down to claim his prize; he holds what’s left of Ness aloft, cackling up a storm. Literally. A storm starts, with rain and lightning. A traumatized Lucas shows his own heroism by running away, abandoning Ness’s remains to the tender care of Wario. Lucas ends up running bang into Pokemon Trainer, who looks kind of like Ash but isn’t. This is good, because more Primids are popping up, and Pokemon Trainer (let’s call him Red) has a Squirtle in his pocket. Otherwise, Lucas doesn’t stand a chance.
Grade: A+ This was fantastic-- miserable Lucas, cocky but heroic Ness, disgusting but clever Wario. It was more logical and less cracked than previous installments, Ness and Lucas being a natural pair. Dunno about this Pokemon trainer dood, though. We’ll see about him in a bit.

Lucas Joins the Pokemon Trainer:
Red looks wary but zaps his Squirtle back into its ball with a stereotypical PT flourish. Red waves bye-bye to Lucas and walks off. Lucas pouts and whines and has grayscale flashbacks to the demise of Ness. Lucas snaps out of his horrible fantasies, looks grim, and runs to catch up with Red. The Pokemon Trainer agrees to recruit Lucas into his gang, which smuggles heroin in Poke Balls. OK, I made that last part up.
Grade: A- Lucas is messed up. And I mean that in a positive sense, and this is a character actual human beings can possibly relate to.

Overall, this is really looking up. This sequence is so much more gripping than the previous character arcs that I can only resort to superlatives. Let's see if SSE maintains this momentum for the next installment, the Misadventures of Puffball and Pixie Girl. And no, I don't mean Kirby and Peach.

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