Google-Glance #1: Overwatch

Welcome to "Google-Glance," the feature that asks people to talk at length about something of which they are but dimly aware, based on five minutes of research using only Google Images.

Today’s topic is that wacky summer hit, Overwatch. It is explained by Etienne, who hasn't played a triple-A game since Portal 2, and features artwork by Miz Opifex, whose only acquaintance with Overwatch comes from her friends' Facebook posts. Miz was tasked to base her illustrations on what Etienne described, with no access to visual content of any kind.

What is Overwatch?
It’s a video game. I know that much—I’m not going in totally blind here. I think it’s a shooter game, probably along the lines of Team Fortress, except in a colorful sci-fi universe.

The plot
I see there’s a spiky-haired lady and she’s duel-wielding pistols, so I bet she's extremely important. Also, there is a skull-faced dude in a black cloak, and that style rarely bodes well. I guess the spiky-haired lady—we’ll call her Spiky-Do—has some sort of beef with Skull-Face. There’s an angel-winged woman and she looks like she might be related to Spiky-Do, so I’m going to say that Skull-Face kidnapped Spiky-Do’s Angel Auntie. There’s also a cyborg gorilla, and a witch in a red dress, and probably a robot army.

To summarize: Spiky-Do, a trigger-happy gymnast in form-fitting armor, uses gun-fu to rescue her Angel Auntie from Skull-Face’s robot horde. She is aided in her anti-robot crusade by Chip Antsy, a cowardly cyborg gorilla, possibly a defector from Skull-Face’s army. In addition to facing terrible technological threats, Spiky-Do must contend with the evil magic of Melissandre—a fanatic priestess of the Lord of Light.

A group shot featuring a gun toting woman with pink hair, a cyborg gorilla, a man with a cape and a scull for a head, two small robots, a witch in purple robes with green fireballs, and an angel who has been bound and gagged.

[Artist's note: I confess the main character that I am aware of existing in Overwatch is the one with the pink hair and big muscles. She caught my eye because I also have pink hair and muscles, but I'm not quite that shredded. Still: #goals. I just assumed she is Spiky-Do.]

The protagonist
Spiky-Do used to be just a regular spiky-haired gymnast from future-Earth. She would go to future-school, and learn important stuff like somersaulting and marksmanship. Of course, all of that changed when the alien Skull-Face overwhelmed future-Earth’s defences with his unstoppable legion of automata.

Spiky-Do is not one to shy away from a challenge, however: she’s proficient in the use of every kind of firearm, and should she ever run out of ammo, she could probably turn anything into an instrument of murder.  When form-fitting armor isn’t enough to get through the day, she has an extensive wardrobe—including a spiffy sniper cloak and a cozy parka.

A pink haired woman in a leotard vaults over a pommel horse while shooting at a skeleton in a Tux with a cape.


[Artist note: About here, I realized that maybe Etienne was talking about the girl who wears yellow that got caught in the great big kerfuffle about butts in video games. Oh well, I was committed now. Plus this was fun as hell to draw.]

The main antagonist
The sinister Skull-Face started out as an intern at the Amoral Interstellar Corporation that harvests the magic of angel-winged future people. He was a real go-getter, and his no-nonsense approach to violating the fundamental rights of angels soon caught the attention of his superiors. After a vertiginous climb up the corporate ladder, Skull-Face now manages his own branch of Amoral Inc.

Skull-Face doesn’t have anything personal against Spiky-Do or future-Earth: it’s just that robots run on angel magic. Skull-Face is at least half-robot himself. And telekinetic? Yes. We’ll go with that—he’s a telekinetic alien cyborg who runs on magic.

A skeleton in a sweater vest carrying a cardboard drinks container full of coffees

[Artist's note: I'd like to think Unpaid Intern Skull-Face was also super good at getting everyone's coffee order from that terrible overpriced coffee house that was totally gentrifying the neighborhood.]


Okay, but what about this?



That’s Melissandre in her clubbing outfit. And when I say “clubbing,” I mean she goes to the future-Earth’s Rifle Club, where she likes to club everyone with the butt of her magic rifle.

A blonde woman in purple robes and a orange hunting vest holding a green rifle spitting green flame from the barrel

[Artist's note: This is the sort of clothes you wear to the gun club, right?]


And this?



That's a scene from Spiky-Do’s raid on Mélissandre’s library. She is assisted by Janette the Techno-Witch, who is actually from one of those low-gravity planets where the heels she is wearing might be considered reasonable fighting attire. Spiky-Do and Jannette are BFFs.

And this?


That’s a snapshot of a secret meeting between Spiky-Do and an angel whose power has been harvested by the Amoral Corporation. They will not part on good terms, however: Spiky-Do could never condone the former angel’s vengeance-fueled guerilla.

Yes, but is it feminist?
My version sure is! It’s a classic tale of two women overcoming impossible odds in order to be together—like Frozen, only intergenerational. And with robots. A lot more robots.

I do wonder why all future women have roughly the same body type, though. That definitely stretches my suspensions of disbelief.

Etienne Domingue is not currently on fire. Ask again later.

Miz Opifex is a union electrician by day and a champion of feminine geekery by night. She lives in the American Rust Belt with her cat and a staggering amount of books, movies, and albums on vinyl.