On Being a Hero, CotG Fans, John Cena, and Endgame’s Heel Turn

I have learned once again that Champions of the Galaxy fans are incredible and that this is more than a game.

A few days ago we posted our fourth teaser for the upcoming Black Death 2129 expansion. This is tradition, been doing it for years. My company posts sneak previews of new game cards leading up to the big release date which this year is July 13 at GalactiCon and mailings begin on July 16.

Every now and then a new game story strikes a nerve. Monday was one of those times.

Endgame had been going against the grain for years. He was a squeaky clean hero in a universe of shady characters and opportunists. In popular entertainment the modern concept of a hero has evolved towards gritty, tough, edgy guys. In comic books this is reflected in the popularity of dark characters like Batman or guys willing to bend the rules like Iron Man. Wrestling’s attitude era saw a plethora of antiheroes like the Rock and Steve Austin.

Endgame quickly became an anachronism, a throwback to an era where heroes were truly uplifting and noble ALL THE TIME, even when the going got tough. As anyone who follows the GWF knows, Endgame has been battling to do the right thing for years and his efforts to guide others to do the same has often fallen on deaf ears as he has been mocked by the Black Death team, heel teams, and even people who should be on his side like Monolith, Overmaster, and Swarm.

Some game fans were calling him boring as he stuck to his guns. Sometimes it’s hard to make a character that sees the world in black and white interesting, especially if he’s a hero (villains, by definition, are always edgy). Endgame was coming off as stodgy, even arrogant, as he became the measure of all this is good and right.

Then suddenly he snapped.

It took some help though. In 2129 Endgame will be possessed by the Black Death plague that is sweeping the galaxy. Suddenly all those years of frustration will be unleashed against everyone but mainly those that undermined his efforts at every turn.

It is the ultimate cynical statement even though I don’t intend it as a statement but as a good story which recognizes that Endgame, like the rest of us, is a human being with a limit to his patience. Plus the wind is against him as his turn to the dark side has been aided by Black Death possession.

Sur and Bex may wind up wishing it never happened. Endgame’s sense of right and wrong may be too highly developed to fall in line with Black Death. But in the meantime EVERYONE better beware!

The obvious parallel is to WWE and John Cena. Squeaky clean as he is many fans don’t like him but WWE so far hasn’t turned him heel. If they do it’ll be huge.

The WWE knows you can’t take such a  turn lightly. Cena is firmly entrenched as a hero as Endgame was.  That makes the turn more potent, more powerful, a deeper form of betrayal as when Hulk Hogan joined the nWo.

Ever since the announcement about Endgame I’ve been involved in discussions on social networks with game fans about the nature of good and evil and the symbolism of Endgame’s heel turn. It’s amazing! I love how deeply game fans relate to the characters.

One game fan wrote a long treatise about good and evil and how Endgame cannot be forgiven, Black Death or not, for giving in to his lower impulses. He discussed the state of mankind today, religious ideals, and other lofty topics. I was proud that such depth could arise from the story lines of Champions of the Galaxy.

Perhaps it is no coincidence that as Endgame falls prey to his dark side that the ultimate symbol of GWF nobility is returning — Lord Nexus. I didn’t do this on purpose. Maybe it was unconscious.

In addition, three new heroes are entering the GWF in 2129. Maybe all this was needed to counterbalance the enormity of Endgame’s turn.

And so Black Death 2129 hasn’t even been released and a galaxy-shaking event has taken place. It’s not just a game and it’s not just a heel turn, it is more than that to people who identify with the characters as real people.

They are real to me too and I hope people don’t judge Endgame too harshly. He’s human, just like us. He fought the good fight perhaps longer than many of us would have. And in the end all we need to do is look in the mirror to see that the temptation to put ourselves first and lash out in anger is something we have all done.

That’s why we need heroes, to show us something better and give us inspiration. Hail the return of Lord Nexus!

Meanwhile enjoy the wrath of Endgame, it’ll make compelling drama! He’s taking no prisoners and all those years of pent up frustration will be released in a firestorm! Can anyone stop him?

Until Tricks becomes a saint…