Street Fighter Classic – Volumes 3 and 4 Review

My sporadic read through all the CAPCOM fighter-based comics I got in a humble bundle continues with the next two Street Fighter comic collections, which tie-up the pre Street Fighter II part and begins Udon Comic’s adaptation of the classic game. How does it stack up? Let’s find out!

Synopsis:

Ryu travels through Asia, meeting fighters he hopes will help him in his journey toward avenging his master’s death. Through his exploits he encounters the Yoga Master, Dhalsim, the King of Muay Thai, Sagat, and the mysterious and deadly ex-assassin, Gen. Meanwhile, Chun-Li and Cammy travel to Mexico to uncover the secrets behind the evil Shadaloo Syndicate’s Doll Agents.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Reunited and it feels so … dangerous?

The final build up to the second Street Fighter tournament is well done, focusing on Ryu doing further training while Cammy’s character is further explored, the two main dangling plot threads from the previous volume. Ryu first finds Dhalsim, who tries to teach him that the best way to defeat Akuma is to create a power opposite to the Dark Hado his foe uses, to rid himself of the evil influence. Ryu takes that into consideration, but a confrontation and loss with a now clear-minded Sagat makes him question it. Ryu then tracks down Gen, who Dhalsim claims was the only person he knows of who had beaten Akuma in battle. Gen admits he had, though Ryu’s foe was weaker back then, and tells him the opposite of Dhalsim’s advice, that he should tap into the Dark Hado as that will be the only way to overcome his adversary. This conflicting advice haunts Ryu as he finishes his training alone… A short while later Akuma appears before Gen, and the two lament the fact that they can’t have a decent rematch due to Gen’s illness, but the demon grant’s Gen’s wish to die in battle and strikes him down after a brief exchange.

While all this is going on Cammy and Chun-li travel to Mexico after news of a local girl going missing from the Thunderfoot tribe in the local area. They meet T. Hawk, who guides them around and tells them of the missing girl, and eventually Cammy and T. Hawk confront her and another of Bison’s dolls (Chun-li having gone back to China for Gen’s funeral). M. Bison himself arrives on the scene and easily dispatches Hawk, then recaptures Cammy despite the best efforts of a suddenly appearing Rose, whose history with M. Bison is legitimately interesting and quite close to the game, unlike a certain live action movie I could talk about… Cammy is re-brainwashed and everything slots into place for the second Street Fighter tournament!

Awww, M. Bison is always so happy at work… Must be nice to get paid to do what you like doing anyway!

The tournament is structured like this: a US tournament, a Japanese tournament and a Chinese tournament, hosted by Balrog, Vega and Sagat respectively, with the winners of each tournament going on to the finals held at Shadaloo HQ itself. Volume 4 sees the Chinese and Japanese tournament take place, with Fei Long, Chun-li and Dhalsim making it through the matches. The tournament in Japan sees Vega get bored quickly and has a bunch of ninjas (that look like Geki from the original Street Fighter!) attack E. Honda and Zangief, who managed to hold them all off. They’re declared the winners, with Dan Hibiki added because they need three and he was the only one left (he had secured his invitation because he stole it from Guy while he slept… though the Final Fight protagonist actually let him take it…) Sadly for Dan one last participant arrives in Sakura, who then beats her former “Master” to gain the third spot.

It’s worth mentioning that before heading off to host the tournament Vega freed Cammy from her brainwashing once more, the two having a history and Vega seeing her blindly serving Bison as a waste of her beauty. Cammy is now pretending to be under Bison’s command while looking for a right time to save her old Delta Red team mates that have been captured. The last part of Volume 4 sees the US tournament kick off in Metro City, complete with a fresh-from-breaking-out-of-prison Cody and three Mad Gear Gang members in Andore, Rolento and Poison (lots of Final Fight continuity in this batch!), alongside Guile, Ryu and Ken. Balrog reveals a bomb-based twist to the US tournament as we end the volume…

The Bad:

I’ll admit this picture of the four bosses in the same panel was definitely cool, even if the art is a bit overboard on the neck muscles…

Not much, if I’m honest. It’s the same when I’m reviewing the King of Fighters manga, if you’re not interested in the source material then there’s just some lovely artwork of characters fighting, with the odd flashback thrown in. I’ll admit that if punching Dan a couple of times and then watching him run off into the sunset with his tournament invitation is Guy’s only contribution to the Udon comics I’ll be disappointed. He was a favourite of mine back from my Final Fight CD days… Also why the hell did Ken bring his pregnant wife with him to the dangerous underground fighting tournament?

Actually, now that I think about it, there were a couple of chapters in Volume 3 where the artwork slipped and looked a bit off. Volume 4 was fine and I kind of forgot about it until just now while searching through the files for pictures!

Overall Thoughts:

Everyone loves a good Final Fight reference, so they decided to throw a whole bunch at once!

Udon’s Street Fighter comic continues to be good fun, with mostly good artwork and a story that sticks close to the games but also spinning it slightly off in their own direction, in particular the format of the Street Fighter tournament itself. A good, fun time, especially (possibly only) if you’re a fan of Street Fighter… Next up: the end of the “Street Fighter Classic” series, but far from the end of these Udon comics!

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