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Comic Book / Super Metroid

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Super Metroid Comics is a five-part Comic-Book Adaptation of the third game in the Metroid series, Super Metroid, and was released in issues 57 - 61 of Nintendo Power in the mid-90s. It features an adapted version of the game's storyline that delves into Samus Aran's history as a bounty hunter, and introduces a number of new characters to the game universe. Interestingly, the first two issues managed to predate the video game's release, serving as a prologue of sorts for fans at the time.

The story begins with Samus waking up from a nightmare and going about her routine patrol of Federation space, only to discover a distress call emanating from the Space Colony. Upon arriving, she discovers that one of her enemies, Ridley, has massacred the scientists and stolen the Metroid hatchling she previously rescued, and is forced to flee with another bounty hunter, Armstrong Houston, after failing to stop the colony's self-destruct sequence.

From there, the comic diverges greatly from the game. Samus and Houston rendezvous at Federation headquarters and meet with Galactic Federation Chairman Keaton and Chief Officer Hardy to report that the Space Pirates have emerged once again, then head off for Zebes to combat the threat directly. However, soon after arriving, Samus' suit is compromised and she is taken by Houston to see Old Bird, one of the last known member of the Chozo species. Samus heals herself up so she can take out the Space Pirate base for good, but Mother Brain has returned and is trying to convert the captured Metroid to her cause...

The comic featured a number of Canon Immigrant characters who would later show up in the Japan-only Metroid manga, including Keaton, Hardy and Old Bird, as well as plenty of Totally Radical dialogue. The series has not been reprinted since its original run.

The comic can be viewed here.

The comic contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Adaptational Wimp: In the game, the Super Metroid was immune to all of Samus' weaponry, and took several sonic screams from Mother Brain to be killed. In the comic, it dies from a single shot from Hardy's blaster.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The comic changes or removes a lot of material in the game's storyline to fit the five-issue series:
    • In the attack on the Space Colony, Samus' fight with Ridley is the only thing that remains largely unchanged. The Space Colony is seen to be much larger than its appearance in the game, Samus attempts to stop the self-destruct countdown (and fails), and Houston helps her escape from the planet, after which they take out a group of attacking Space Pirate ships.
    • Samus' trips to Zebes are both very short. Not only does she never explore most of the zones from the game, but she is seriously injured soon after arriving for the first time, and is forced to get healed by Old Bird before heading back and attacking the Space Pirate base (and Mother Brain) head-on.
    • Instead of the hatchling sacrificing itself to protect Samus when Mother Brain attacks in the game, Hardy accidentally shoots and kills it (believing it to be like all the other Metroids) in the comic. Conversely, Samus never uses the Hyper Beam to finish off Mother Brain - she uses her Charge/Long Beam instead.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Samus has light purple hair here instead of her usual blonde.
  • Adaptation-Induced Plot Hole: Hardy accidentally killing the Hatchling is a pretty major departure from the game's canon, where the creature makes a Heroic Sacrifice to save its adoptive mother. However, Samus isn't there to witness this and assumes Space Pirate experimentation that caused it to die rather than one of her allies. It causes Samus's "revenge" on Mother Brain to feel a bit hollow, as her rage over the infant Metroid's death with being redirected at the wrong target. Doesn't help that Hardy is the comic-relief character.
  • Adapted Out: The animals found on Zebes' surface are never seen, brought up or rescued in the comic series.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: Much like Super Mario Adventures, the creators had fun inserting all sorts of similar sentences:
    Sayonara, space cadet!
    There are pirates to pulverize!
  • All There in the Manual: The comic details Samus' backstory and training by the Chozo, which was never shown proper in the games itself (and was only further explored in a manga made nearly a decade later).
  • Armor Is Useless: Played with. Samus is impaled through the shoulder by a spike trap that drives right through her armor. It's later explained that the blow likely wouldn't have been serious, but she had a psychic link to the hatchling being in danger, which caused her to lose her focus (and the integrity of the suit).
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Samus and Houston when they clear out the Space Pirate lair at the beginning of the third chapter, "Back to the Nest".
  • Bad Boss: In the final chapter, Keaton and Hardy realize that Mother Brain has been starving the Space Pirates, as they are keen to eat just about anything (including a half-eaten donut).
  • Bag of Holding: Played with. Samus seems to have several of her items from previous games (including the Varia Suit, Power Bombs and Charge/Long Beam), but the rest of her items are either never utilized or not present during her mission.
  • Big "NO!": Samus gets this when she's attacked by the monsters during her nightmare.
  • Canon Immigrant:
    • The much-despised Concentration mechanic used in Metroid: Other M made its debut here, although it is quite different.
    • The Chozo Old Bird would later appear in Metroid: Zero Mission and the the 2002 manga with an altered design.
    • Anthony Higgs is often believed to be the canon answer to Armstrong Houston, given they have the same initials and wear blue.
  • Catapult Nightmare: The series starts with Samus having a dream about hunting winged monsters that shoot out fire, being attacked by one, then waking up with a start in her apartment.
  • The Cavalry: Houston shows up to save Samus after she's pinned down by Space Pirates during the first battle on Zebes.
  • Changed My Mind, Kid: Houston comes back to rescue Samus when she's pinned down by the Space Pirates, after she had previously accused him of only wanting to go to Zebes for bounties and nothing else.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Hardy is always seen eating a sandwich whenever he appears in the story. When he and Keaton are captured by Ridley and the Space Pirates, they are encased in a bubble that can only be broken from the outside. Keaton uses Hardy's sandwich to attract a Space Pirate who tries to eat it, which bursts the bubble and sets them free.
  • Da Chief: Hardy, who oversees the Federation Police.
  • Danger Deadpan: In the third chapter, Samus and Houston carve through Space Pirates while trading quips and arguing about who should have saved the other.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Unlike the game (where it always heals Samus when she's at very low health), the Crystal Flash in the comic is explained as a last-ditch resort that could harm her if not used properly.
  • Defiant Captive: When he's captured, Keaton does not hesitate to repeatedly tell Ridley how screwed he'll be when Samus shows up on Zebes again. He's absolutely right - Ridley takes his advice and flees at the first opportunity.
  • Destructive Savior: Subverted - unlike the game, Samus learns that Ridley already activated the self-destruct mechanism for the Space Colony by the time she arrives, and attempts to shut down the colony's main computer before Houston tells her it's futile and they escape.
  • Differently Dressed Duplicates: Houston has a near-exact (if not the same) power suit as Samus, and even has an identical ship - except all of his gear is blue instead of her orange-yellow motif.
  • Dirty Coward: Ridley flees as soon as it becomes clear that Samus is carving a unstoppable trail of destruction through the Space Pirate base on Zebes.
  • Exact Time to Failure: The Space Colony's main computer knows exactly how long it has until the self-destruct mechanism activates, just like the main game.
  • Fat Idiot: Hardy, the head of the Federation Police, is characterized as a coffee-drinking buffoon who fails to do basic things like get his forces to scan planets for enemy activity, and is generally the one who whines about how bad things are. Not only that, but his obsessive habit of eating sandwiches becomes a Chekhov's Gun later, as Keaton uses the food to attract a guard and break them out of their confinement.
  • Fetal Position Rebirth: Samus, when she's in the Chozo healing pod and while performing the Crystal Flash.
  • Good Morning, Crono: The story begins with Samus waking up from a nightmare and going about her routine patrol before picking up a distress call coming from a space station.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Old Bird refers to Samus as "Samus-san."
  • Hero-Worshipper: Houston seems to make an obsessive habit of following Samus around, and repeatedly asks to be her partner throughout the story. She seems to brush off his requests, but it comes across as stalkerish behaviour. Heck, his armor is a blue-and-silver knockoff of Samus'.
  • I Am Not Left-Handed: Unlike the game, this is averted with Mother Brain, who is seen using her mechanical body in her very first appearance and stays that way through the duration of the story.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Samus gets a suit puncture (which goes directly through the shoulder of her suit) by a hidden trap on Zebes, requiring that she head to Old Bird immediately for treatment.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Samus is seen to be on very good terms with Keaton, who is part of an unnamed alien species.
  • It's Personal: Samus discovers the dead hatchling and swears to avenge it, and opens up with everything she has on Mother Brain.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Unlike the game, Samus never has her final confrontation with Ridley, as he flees to parts unknown before she has a chance to encounter him on Zebes.
    • Likewise, Hardy never faces any repercussions from Samus for accidentally killing the hatchling, and never reveals to her that he shot it (as she believes Mother Brain did it).
  • Load-Bearing Boss: The death of Mother Brain causes the entire planet to begin self-destructing, forcing Samus and the others to flee before it blows up.
  • Mama Bear: Samus, just like the main game. It's explained that she has a psychic connection with the hatchling, which causes her to lose focus whenever it's in danger.
  • Monster Threat Expiration: Samus not only cuts through the Space Pirates on Zebes like tissue paper, but beats Mother Brain just by using her Charge Beam.
  • Mood Whiplash: The final chapter has Samus angrily destroy Mother Brain in retribution for killing the hatchling, then escaping the planet with Keaton, Hardy and Houston and making a joke to the latter about how he still can't be her partner - all while Zebes explodes in the background.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted. The brief glimpses we see of the Space Colony show that it's not just a research station like the game, but an entire city that is seen in the background as Samus runs into the station. The inhabitants are presumably all killed when Samus and Houston flee the colony.
  • Noodle Incident: Samus makes reference to having saved Houston once before in an asteroid belt, though how and why are never explained.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Though not exclusive, most characters in the comic (including Samus herself) refer to her as "Protector of the Galaxy".
  • Pants-Positive Safety: One sequence has Houston scratching his head with the end of his arm cannon while talking with Old Bird.
  • Powered Armor: Both Samus and Houston have Power Suits.
  • Power Glows: Samus' repowered suit glows white as she puts it on in the final chapter.
  • Psychoactive Powers: Samus' suit, although built from pieces, is powered by her will and concentration. Acts that cause her to lose focus result in the armor being nigh-useless, according to Old Bird.
  • Punch-Clock Hero: The comic starts out in this way, as Samus wakes up early in the apartment, has a shower and a cup of coffee, then gets "dressed" in her Power Suit before going out on patrol in her ship.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Chairman Keaton. Unlike some of the commanding officers in later installments, Keaton seems very apt to listen to input and make good decisions. He also trusts Samus implicitly - as soon as he hears from her that the Space Pirates may have returned, he chews out Hardy and tells her she has his support, and later (when he finds out that she's injured and leaving Zebes), he scrambles a rescue fleet to go and find her himself.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Both Samus and Houston make several references to having worked together in the past as soon as he's introduced.
  • Ret-Canon:
    • This comic was the first time Samus's backstory was depicted in any form of Metroid media. In fact, it may have been the first time Samus had a backstory (especially since the original Metroid's instruction manual refers to Samus as a cyborg). Later Metroid games would more or less canonize this depiction of Samus's origins (colony K2-L would get an explicit Name Drop in the manual for Metroid Prime). The 2002 Metroid manga seems to have used this comic as a reference, as characters exclusive to this adaptation reappear in the manga (specifically Chairman Keaton and Chief Hardy).
    • This also has a long-term instance of Foreshadowing — this comic series is the first in the franchise (via the fourth chapter) to state that Samus had a blood transfusion (with Chozo DNA) administered to her as a child. As seen prior to the climactic final battle in Metroid Dread, and in a case of Arc Welding, Raven Beak is revealed to be one of the Chozo that donated his blood to administer to Samus.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Samus' second trip to Zebes results in her destroying everything in her path on the way to Mother Brain.
  • Self-Destruct Mechanism: Played straight, like the main game. Samus attempts to shut off the Space Colony's main computer before Houston tells her there's no time and that they have to leave.
  • She's Back: The final chapter begins with a large panel of Samus' power suit reactivating itself as she stares ahead defiantly.
  • Shoulders of Doom: A notable aversion. Samus' Varia Suit ends up hindering her when her left shoulder pad is pierced by a spike trap in Tourian, which compromises the suit's integrity and forces her and Houston to seek aid from Old Bird.
  • Sole Survivor:
    • Old Bird, who is implied to be the last of the Chozo race.
    • Likewise, Samus is the only survivor of the K-2L colony, which was destroyed by the Space Pirates.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Unlike the game, Ridley is never destroyed by Samus in his lair on Zebes, and simply flees once Samus starts mowing through the Space Pirate base. What's notable is that this happens to be the game where the original Ridley is Killed Off for Real.
  • Storming the Castle: The attack on the Space Pirate base in the final chapter.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The Space Pirate guarding the trapped Keaton and Hardy is so hungry that he breaks their confinement by trying to eat their half-eaten sandwich, allowing them to escape and rendezvous with Samus and Houston.
  • Totally Radical: The dialogue encompasses nearly every slang term from the mid-90's, including "bird brain", Samus yelling out "Yikes!" when she's attacked by the Space Pirates for the first time, "ready to rumble", "get real" and many more.
  • Training Montage: The fourth chapter has a montage of a young Samus training with several members of the Chozo (and soundly beating them).
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The members of Chairman Keaton's fleet (which go to rescue Samus after she leaves Zebes) are never seen again after Ridley captures him and Hardy.

Alternative Title(s): Super Metroid Comic