In 1980’s Marvel’s New Universe brought us Kickers Inc. In the 1990’s, Marvel tried the sports realm again with NFL SuperPro. In the 2000’s we had WWE comic books from the now deceased Chaos! Comics.
At least once a decade the comic book industry and the sports world attempt a marriage to try to capitalize on their shared audiences. However these endeavors are typically met with very limited success.
And by their “very limited success” I of course mean the same “very limited success” that the Washington Generals experience on the basketball court against their arch rivals the Harlem Globetrotters.
Now enters this generations attempt at a sports/comic book collaboration: Tales of UFC: Return To The Octagon.
Written by Dave Dwonch with art by Jason Federhenn, copies of the limited print edition were available in California at The Forum during UFC 232: Jones vs. Gustaffson 2 on Saturday, December 29.
The story is science fiction heavy and fairly involved.
This first issue’s story begins in 2008, as Mike “The Takedown” Mercury is “drafted into a war against an intergalactic crime syndicate known as ‘THE RING.’ Outfitted with hi-tech alien armor, Mike leaves his world behind, including his eight-year old daughter Maxine, to save the universe. A decade later, THE RING has now set its sights on Earth, with Mike returning home to continue the fight.”
I don’t really see a reason to go this sci-fi heavy with a story about an MMA fighter. A more grounded ‘street level’ story probably would have been a safer play.
Something like an organized crime family extorting protection money from local businesses until the fighters from the gym takes matters into their own hands.
Or an MMA fighter that dons a mask at night to patrol the local streets of the neighborhood he grew up in.
Time will tell if going the intergalactic route as opposed to street level is the right call, but in either case, it does make you wonder if the branch off into comic books is the final crossing of the ‘market over saturation’ threshold for the UFC.
What do you think? Please comment with any sport comic book that you thought was good. I can’t think of one…