Street Fighter Classic – Volumes 1 and 2 Review

Now one of the things I’ll be doing a bit more often in 2021 is covering some non-Doctor Who comics, thanks to finally being all-but caught up with them (and not planning any more DW comic marathons after the currently-on-going Eighth Doctor DWM one) but I thought as I had a week or so in between some even-rarer book reading, plus I’d just brought the Street Fighter (plus Darkstalkers) comic Humble Bundle, I’d start a look at Udon’s comics based on the classic fighting series. I had to do some research as to which of the several different titled comic series that came in the bundle actually came first, and turns out the “Street Fighter Classic” series! It’s set in between the original Street Fighter series and II, but doesn’t really adapt what little story appeared in the Alpha games set during the same gap. After all that waffling, is it any good? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

Chun-li and Guile uncover the secrets of Shadaloo, while Ryu and Ken hunt down the murderous master of the fist ― Akuma! It’s a whirlwind tour across the globe with all your favorite World Warriors! (Can you tell this is the official synopsis?)

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Ryu gets a taste of the Dark Hado… and of defeat, which is still rare even in this early part of his “career”.

Now by some weird coincidence I’m also covering the manga adaptation of the King of Fighters XIV game, but while that series is just all tournament for a setting, this is the opposite, looking at the backgrounds of the characters and slotting a story around them. Across these two volumes / 14 issues we follow Ryu and Ken dealing with the death of their master and the looming threat of Akuma, we follow Chun-Li and Guile as they try to peel back the veil of Shadaloo an M. Bison, and we see a good deal of Cammy’s background as both a Shadaloo “doll” and as a member of the UK special forces team Delta Red. These three core stories involve a lot of other Street Fighter cast members, plus towards the end start to intersect.

The Ryu and Ken strand focuses on that old chestnut of Ryu being tempted into using the Dark Hado and going down the same path as Akuma, his teacher’s brother and murderer. After a near fatal battle with the demon Ryu goes off to train, but is followed by local Japanese school girl Sakura, who saw him in action and wants to train under him. Ken and his love Eliza found out they’re expecting so he returns home to train within visiting distance of her, plus the two plan a wedding. During a shopping trip they have a brief encounter with Vega which results in brief hospitalisation of Eliza.

The Chun-Li and Guile part of the story is the main focus early on, as the pair meet each other on the same trail and meet a mind-controlled Charlie, Guile’s friend and mentor, plus Chun-Li’s contact. The two manage to beat him out of it but soon the trio is met with M. Bison himself, who manages to easily dispatch the two agents and his old slave, but Charlie manages to break away the cliff both him and Bison were standing on and plunge the two of them into the water below. Charlie is presumed dead, and Bison is presumed “probably alive” because he’s M. Bison, frankly. In Vol. 2 the two are separated, with Chun-Li getting confirmation that her father is dead and visiting her old teacher Gen, and Guile is having marital troubles while playing with his young daughter. There is also a fun chapter or two where Chun-Li meets Fei Long as the director of his current movie has ties to Shadaloo.

The unmistakable mouth and jaw-line of M. Bison…

Finally we see Cammy, or “Killer Bee” as she’s known as while under Bison’s influence. She is broken free of the Shadaloo mind control by Rose, but ends up joining the MI6’s Delta Red as an amnesiac who happens to have amazing skills as a soldier, meaning the life away from the battlefield Rose wanted for her didn’t go to plan… especially when a mission or two has her come across another Doll who recognises her and Cammy starts to remember bits. This leads to a coincidental meeting with Chun-Li, and would you believe it, it was Cammy who killed her father. The two brawl and but Li soon recognises she isn’t the same person anymore and works alongside her. Cammy later has to face the transformed Shadaloo monster known as Blanka, and feels sorry for the creature as she apparently mistreated it when she was an agent. Blanka in a Shadaloo lab gives me far too many movie vibes, but hey-ho…

This is where everything else starts to converge as at Ken’s wedding reception are Ryu and Sakura, Guile (whose wife is Eliza’s sister) and soon Vega and Balrog, who crash the party. Ken is cut up pretty badly due to being more concerned with Eliza’s safety, and Sakura manages to master the Hadoken while Ryu battles Balrog, being impressed by his brute strength. Vega and Balrog retreat a short while later and things get set for Volume 3, including Ryu going to India to meet Dhalsim (on the advice of a not-as-angry-as-you’d-think Sagat, who we see get his trademark scar from Ryu at the end of the first tournament in a flashback), Guile has reconciled with his wife, Chun-Li has decided to carry on with Interpol after nearly quitting due to the death of her father, and Sakura goes back to school. Meanwhile Bison returns from death via some … tube thing, which I guess will explain how he returns after SFII’s storyline later on as well, which is handy!

Overall the artwork is good, the stories are often fun and generally I had a real blast reading them. I’m looking forward to following more of the story next year, at my leisure, plus eventually seeing their take on Darkstalker, plus the eventual crossover! (That was a good Humble Bundle!)

The Bad:

But what if Shadaloo’s conditioning MEANT that eyes lie? Did you think about THAT Chun-Li? Well? Did you?!

Not a lot! I mean, some of the small interlude chapters were a bit nothing or had weird artwork, but they were just bonus couple-of-page side stories so I can hardly complain. Given the size of the cast, even pre-SFII, is large, they’re doing a good job of juggling them. About the only thing I didn’t like was seeing M. Bison arrive and get defeated so soon, but hey-ho… he’s back already!

Overall Thoughts:

When you realise “Ow! Cut it out!” was the wrong phrase to use…

Reading these Street Fighter comics have been a pleasure. They’ve managed to grab the key characters and weave a fun story around them, taking the key points from the game or making up some themselves to give certain characters more reason to meet each other. Add in some strong artwork and yeah, I’m happy to give this a good mark and I’m looking forward to more!

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