Metal Gear!? That’s right, We Want Comics is taking us to the psychedelic wonderland of Hideo Kojima’s greatest creation. While there was a Metal Gear comic series in 2008 (with some gorgeous art by Ashley Wood!) it barely scratched the surface of the insane universe of Metal Gear Solid, a spy epic that spans a century and crosses the globe. Because of that, bear in mind that there are game spoilers ahead. There are plenty of characters for the comics to explore, and I’m not only going to pitch you the series, I’m also going to give you perfect creative teams for each of them. This is a fantasy, so let’s take it one step further and pretend that the rights to the game have been liberated by Konami (who engage in some… uncool… business practices). But I want you to be in the right mood, so turn on some Harry Gregson Williams music and let’s get to it. I don’t wanna keep you waiting.
Metal Gear Solid: Queen Cobra
Tactical Squadron Action
Written by Tom Taylor
Illustrated by Roberta Ingranata
The entire saga of Metal Gear Solid” can be traced back to one woman- The Boss. Not only did she establish a tradition of triple-crosses and superpowered squads, it was her ideology (and dying wishes) that put the whole conflict of the series into motion. But what we know of her life is only mentioned in passing. So obviously we need a whole series devoted to her days as The Joy and her leadership of the Cobra Unit. The Pain, The Fear, The End, The Sorrow, and The Fury are a great squad of silly mutants, but none of them were deeply fleshed out. All of that would change in “Metal Gear Solid: Queen Cobra” a comic series that would start in World War II and follow the Unit into the early days of the Cold War.
The Cobra Unit is a deeply messed up gang of killers, and no one does messed up superhero team dynamics as entertainingly as Tom Taylor. As he’s proven on his work on “All-New Wolverine” and “Injustice,” he can find humor in dark places. For art, we turn to Roberta Ingranata. Her style is cleaner, but looks a bit like the classic MGS artbook style that you would find in the manuals, making her the perfect fit for this period in MGS history. Plus, her “Witchblade” run shows that she’s great at swerving into messed up gore. In the end, The Boss will have to choose whether she’s going to live as a soldier, or just another person with a gun.
Metal Gear Solid: Revolver Reloaded
Tactical Espionage Betrayal
Written by Ales Kot
Illustrated by Becca Farrow
The most convoluted, confusing, befuddling, and enraging part of Metal Gear Solid is trying to keep up with Revolver Ocelot. So maybe it’s time he got a proper biography, one that showed each of his moves in order, from his perspective. We’d see him go for his birth (literally on Normandy Beach on D-Day) to being a young captive of the Philosophers, to the youngest colonel in the GRU. We’d follow as he worked with Big Boss and Cipher, switching sides more times than he can count, and joining Foxhound, only to join the US president, then a terrorist group (led by that US president), then a dude who attaches his former boss’s severed arm to his own body, and gets possessed by his ghost. Or… nanomachines? (Nanomachines!?) There’s a lot to cover before he finally dies as Liquid Ocelot in 2014.
When it comes to the convoluted lives of soldiers and spies, who better to keep track of things than Ales Kot? He’s practically the Hideo Kojima of comics (but maybe less of a weird pervert). To draw it, we turn to Becca Farrow. Her work on “Ladycastle” wouldn’t immediately lead you to think she’d want to draw a gritty spy drama about a Soviet torturer in the Afghan War, but nobody loves Ocelot more than she does. Her emotive style would bring across a lot of the subtleties that Kot likes to write into his work. Most importantly, Farrow understands the subtleties of the character. This is a dude who loves to reload during a battle! After all, there’s nothing like the feeling of slamming a long silver bullet into a well greased chamber.Continued below
Metal Gear Rising: The Next Generation
Tactical Philanthropy Action
Written by Kelly Sue Deconnick
Illustrated by Clayton Crain
It’s time to get woke with a cyberpunk brigade of kids robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. Metal Gear Rising shows that there’s plenty of conflict left in the world, even after the collapse of the War Economy, so this series would pick up in the 2040s as Sunny Gurlukovich Emmerich leads an elite squad with Little John, the son of Raiden and Rosemary as her right hand man. MGS never found a name it couldn’t draw unnecessary significance out of, so we’re going to make Sunny a hacktivist with a laser bow, and Little John grow up to resemble the Big Man of Sherwood. The rest of the squad would be made of suitably bonkers stand ins for the rest of the Merry Men (perhaps Bladewolf grew into a Friar Tuck type), and they would right the wrongs of the cybernetically enhanced future. These are men and women who aren’t acting as tools of the government, or anyone else. Fighting is what they are good at, and they always fight for what they believe in.
The book needs to be sharp, but it also needs to hit like a brick to the face. So we’re going to turn to Kelly Sue Deconnick, whose “Bitch Planet” has the subtlety of a Kojima-written monologue on nuclear disarmament. The tone is perfect, and Deconnick is great with fun ensembles. To draw it we’d need to grab Clayton Crain of “Rai” fame. Crain does fantastic cyberpunk and no one draws shinier cyborgs. His style is a must.
Metal Gear Solid: The First Days of Foxhound
Strategic Espionage Operations
Written and Illustrated by Zander Cannon & Max Wittert
Backup feature by: Chris Doucette
Sometimes, MGS can be a little bit self serious. That’s part of the magic, but if we’re doing MGS comics, we’re going to have to take the piss out of the series a bit. That’s why we need a workplace comedy about the most dysfunctional band of misfits in the history of the franchise: Foxhound. Starring Liquid Snake, the series would follow the missions of Revolver Ocelot, Decoy Octopus (never seen in his real form), Vulcan Raven, Sniper Wolf, and Psycho Mantis as they sabotage each other and themselves.
For the creative team, I like the styles of two cartoonists who write and draw their comics. Max Wittert is famous for the “Scott and Jean” webcomic, and listening to him talk about comics, it’s obvious that he’s thoughtful and hilarious. Give the guy a book! Zander Cannon is famous for “Kaijumax,” a series can find the dark, satirical underbelly of any joke. The two of them can find the fantastical in the mundane and the mundane in the preposterous. And I wanna see Cannon draw more giant robots!
But wait! It’s not over yet! This idea wouldn’t exist without the good work of Chris Doucette, who already did something similar in the “Last Days of Foxhound” webcomic. He clearly has deep affection for the lore and characters, and the right thing to do would be to revive it as the backup feature.
Metal Gear Gray: Fear the Hunter
Tactical Espionage Assassination
Written and Illustrated by: Daniel Warren Johnson
More enigmatic (but less confusing) than Revolver Ocelot is Frank “Gray Fox” Jaeger. After encountering Big Boss as a teenage superninja, Jaeger went on to fight in many African wars of the late 20th Century. At some point he returned to America and became one of the most decorated special forces troops in the country’s history. This is all while working alongside his “sister” Naomi Hunter (one of the only active female protagonists in the whole series), coming closer to unraveling the ancient conspiracy than anyone in the series not named Snake. The siblings deserve a spin-off.Continued below
Daniel Warren Johnson walks the razor’s edge of tone that this book would need. He does trippy in his books, but he also rocks high octane ninja action. Most importantly though, all of his books have a subtle sadness to them. This isn’t the hand clenched emotions that would work for most MGS characters; Jaeger and Hunter have a quieter pain, one that Johnson seems to get. If he could bring half the pathos he wrote into the siblings in his explosive debut “Extremity,” “Metal Gear Gray: Fear the Hunter” could be an all-time classic. Warren also draws great action scenes. Naturally, some would have to be hand-to-hand, as it is the basis of all combat. Only a fool trusts his life to a weapon.
Metal Gear Venom: The Twin Bosses
Punished Espionage Operations
Written by Ed Brubaker
Illustrated by Sean Phillips
Kept you waiting, huh? The moment I started thinking about MGS comics, I immediately knew I needed a sad, moody noir piece by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. They do great spies, and the twisty machinations of “Sleeper” prove that they’re smart enough to keep up with the traitors and thieves that make up the MGS world. But who is sad enough to merit the Brubaker/Phillips touch? Venom Snake.
The protagonist of the final Metal Gear Solid game is not who he seems to be. And once Big Boss comes back on the scene, the final twists bring up more questions then answers. But it leaves us with in unique circumstances. From 1985 until the events of Metal Gear in 1995, there were two identical men calling themselves Big Boss. And they weren’t antagonists, they were utterly loyal to each other. They shared dreams. And they kept each other a secret.
The twin premise is thematic to the whole series, but it also opens up a world of possibilities. In the decade they worked together, they could have encountered loads of spies and soldiers we’ve come to know, love, and hate. The two bosses could face off with Roy Campbell, Sergei Gurlukovich, Frank Jaeger, Scott Dolph, the agents of Cipher- the possibilities are endless. And leave it to Team “Criminal” to figure out some A+ twin shenanigans to keep us guessing until the end. Truly the battle to end all battles!