This February, all that stands between the world and ultimate destruction are a wheel chair bound priest and the seven lethal alter egos that he can bring to life. This is the premise of "Killer 7," a twelve-issue mini-series from Devil's Due Publishing and Kinetic Underground, based on the Capcom video game. CBR News spoke with writer Arvid Nelson about the action packed mini-series.
"Killer 7" the comic series was born when Nelson met David Forrest, the owner of Kinetic Underground at Comic-Con International in San Diego a few years ago. "Dave and I met during an otherwise excruciating layover in the San Diego airport," Nelson told CBR News. "We've been collaborating on a few projects, including a 'Tekken' comic book licensed from Namco and a re-re-re-re-launch of The 'Micronauts.' 'Killer 7'is the first project of ours that's seen the light of day. I hope it will lead to more things for both of us; I'm proud of what we're doing."
Before "Killer 7" became Kinetic Underground's first project to see the light of day, it was a video game, which Nelson is a fan of. "I'm a big fan of the game! It defies any kind of classification," Nelson said. "Game play is definitely not it's strength, but the story is really, really interesting. That's what drew me into the game, and I think that's what gives it such potential for a comic book. But no, you don't have to have played the game to enjoy or understand the comic. Readers should be aware that the first few issues of the comic might leave them with a lot of questions, but not to worry! Everything will make sense when we're finished."
Nelson loved the game's story, but had to tinker with it to turn "Killer 7" into a comic book series. "I mean, the game is really confusing some of the time," Nelson explained. "My challenge was trying to take the game, brilliant and flawed as it was, and turn it into a comprehensible story. So we're kind of throwing out a lot of things, changing a lot of things, taking a lot of liberties in the name of telling a good story."
Nelson's story and the video game take place in a world that make look familiar at first, but there are some marked differences to our own. "They take place during the present day, but given different historical circumstances," Nelson stated. "The world is uniting under one government, and all air travel and use of the Internet have been banned. The world powers are in the process of destroying their nuclear stockpiles. But there's a new threat to world peace, in the form of zombie terrorists known as Heaven's Smiles. It's impossible to tell a normal person from a Heaven's Smile until it's too late; Heaven's Smiles can disguise themselves to look like normal people. When they reveal themselves, they turn into scaly zombies with horrific, psychotic smiles, hence the name. Heaven's Smiles can blow themselves up, causing terror, death and destruction. Basically, the Killer 7 are called in to find out where the Heaven's Smiles are coming from. The Smiles are linked to a fascist Japanese political organization opposed to globalization. And that's where the investigation starts.
"The second story arc will continue the plot of the game," Nelson continued. "We're going to end the first six issues on a definitive note and then keep going!"
The Killer 7 are a diverse collection of lethally capable operatives who do the bidding of an enigmatic man named Harman Smith. "The world of Killer 7 is a little bit different from ours. Certain supernatural phenomena can happen. Harman Smith is a wheelchair-bound Catholic priest and a cold-blooded assassin. He possesses the ability to absorb not just the souls but also the bodies of the people he has killed. Harman is a mysterious figure, a cross between a Jedi Knight and a Mafia boss. He doesn't directly interact throughout most of the story. Mostly, he's guiding things from the shadows. He leaves the direct action to his alter egos, the Killer 7.
"Harman's assassins are interesting," Nelson continued "First of all, they all have the last name of Smith. Garcian Smith is sort of the go-between for Harman and the rest of the personas. Garcian's black, and he uses a silenced pistol. He's frosty, even surgical when he's out on assignment. But he's got an ironic sense of humor too. I really like Garcian.
"There's also Con Smith. Con is Chinese. He's the youngest of the group and kind of a punk. He's blind but he has super-sensitive hearing. He always wears a bandanna wrapped around his eyes. Con uses two pistols, one in each hand. He's really fast.
"Kaede Smith is the only woman in the group. She's Japanese, and she uses pistol with a scope. Kaede's always on the edge; she's very unstable mentally. She wears a bloodstained nightie.
"Dan Smith is the other Japanese persona. He's sadistic, a sociopath, even demonic. He wears a Reservoir Dogs-style black suit and wields a massive revolver. Kaede and Dan don't like each other.
"But Kaede has a thing for Coyote Smith, the fifth persona. Coyote is a petty thief and delinquent from Puerto Rico. He's also an acrobatics expert. He uses a revolver. It's not as big as Dan's.
"Kevin Smith is probably the most mysterious of the group. He's British, an albino. He's a mute and he's the only character who doesn't use a gun. Kevin uses knives because they're silent. His specialty is stealth. He can see in the dark and run super fast.
"Finally, there's Mask deSmith, and Mask, along with Garcian, are the first characters we're going to introduce to the reader. Mask is the biggest of the personae; he's an ex Mexican wrestler. He wears a white suit, cowboy boots and a cape and a mask. Mask uses gi-normous grenade launchers. He's kind of melancholy, but he's a smart-ass, too."
In their quest to find and destroy Heaven's Smiles, the Killer 7 will be pitted against a horde of adversaries as diverse as they are. "They will encounter everything from zombie terrorists to an Evangelical cult leader with a Messiah complex to a black market organ smuggler to a group of five Power Ranger type children's television heroes who moonlight as assassins. It's going to be a wild ride!" Nelson stated.
The wild ride that is "Killer 7" will have a tone as diverse as it's cast. Killer 7 mixes elements of the action/thriller, with hints of horror, psychological drama and doses of humor. "It's humorous. Even satirical," Nelson explained. "It provides some relief from the horror."
The story of "Killer 7" might not be what readers expect; it won't be a comic that can be read passively. "The video game doesn't spoon feed you information; you have to figure out what's going on by playing. That's how the comic's going to be, too. You have to figure out what's going on by reading. So the first few issues might leave you with a lot of questions. All I can do is plead for people to hang in there! Everything will be revealed, and everything will make sense in the end."