Street Fighter Classic – Volume 5 and Street Fighter IV Comic Review

It’s time to finish off the “Classic” range of collected comic graphic novels from UDON and throw in their one-off SFIV comic for good measure (as it takes place at the same time as SFC Vol. 5) After a fun build up to the comic’s version of Street Fighter II, does the pay-off live up to it? … The short answer is no, sadly…

Synopsis:

This is it ― the Street Fighter Tournament finals! The world’s 12 greatest warriors compete against each other and M.Bison’s Shadaloo lieutenants for the chance to be crowned the ultimate fighter.

*spoilers appear from here on out!*

The Good:

Fun seeing two iconic Street Fighter villains go at it, even if it makes Bison out to look like a wimp…

While the tournament itself is a big barrel of disappointment, the finale is at least fun. Ryu makes it to the final to face M. Bison, but he’s more interested in luring out Akuma, where as Bison wants Ryu to experiment into the Satsui no Hado power he’s struggling with. They have a brief fight before Akuma arrives on the scene, and seeing this stranger with more Satsui no Hado power is an added bonus for Bison so he goes after him. The two fight it out but it soon becomes obvious that Bison’s Psycho Power is no match for Akuma, even more so when Guile, Chun-Li and Cammy destroy his Psycho Drive and leave him powerless. Much like the game timeline Bison is killed by Akuma’s Shun Goku Satsu (or Raging Demon) and so Ryu and Akuma face off as the island they’re on begins to collapse into lava. They have a brief battle and Ryu starts to give in to the Hado but manages to resist and accept his death as its better than becoming like his foe, but he’s saved by his thought-dead Master Gouken, though it’s presented as Ryu hallucinating, those of us who have played SFIV know this isn’t the case!

Ryu is saved from a fiery death by the teleporting Dhalsim and soon the whole Shadaloo storyline is wrapped up. It tied up the whole Ryu / Akuma story thread that had been going across all five volumes well enough while also paying homage to the canon ending of Street Fighter II, so it’s not that bad. The build up? Well… See the Bad section for that…

More like “Bust time!”, am I right?

The Street Fighter IV comic on the other hand was … fine. Rather than an adaptation of IV, which would be the next stage if the comics were following the game’s timeline, it shows the handful of IV original characters in Abel, El Fuerte, Ralph, C. Viper and Seth and gives them a side story going on at the same time as the SFII tournament seen in Classic Vol. 5. It starts off with mini stories for each of the first four non-boss characters, then four full length issues to tell the story itself, which is basically just Abel / Seth’s backstory of being Bison replacement bodies that became more self-aware than Shadaloo expected, with Abel losing his memory and becoming a helpful mercenary, and Seth, then known simply as “Fifteen” being given a job as leader of Shadaloo’s S.I.N. subsidiary. C. Viper, a government agent, goes undercover in S.I.N and becomes friendly with Fifteen, but is horrified at the experiments going on at the lab. She sticks to the plan though for a while longer mind you…

El Fuerte and Ralph appear to fight with Sakura and Dan at a Ninja Warrior parody but the latter two are kidnapped by S.I.N due to their exposure to the Satsui no Hado which Bison is so interested in. This is where the story hits its end, as Abel arrives and confronts his blue doppelganger while C. Viper arrives and frees Sakura and Dan. Abel finds out his past as a vessel for Bison’s soul and defeats Fifteen, who just wants to know how Abel managed to become free. Viper blows the lab, but Fifteen manages to survive and better yet the experience has freed him from Bison’s control, he then names himself Seth as he’s the younger brother of Abel, who freed him. While it doesn’t quite match up to the games (as these comics often don’t, which is fine!) it does do a good job of giving a bit more character to Abel and Seth, if nothing else.

The Bad:

This is 60% of the entire battle… Maybe not literally, but close!

After all this build up the tournament is just rushed right through. The US branch of the qualifiers is over in a single issue with fights lasting one or two pages, several characters who qualified in earlier issues (like Sakura) are just not present with no explanation and the opening rounds and even Shadaloo fights are over before they can even get going. Remember Vega nearly killing Ken and threatening his wife? Well Ken gets his revenge… in like two pages of action. E. Honda, T. Hawk and Ken get turned into Shadaloo dolls for all of a single issue and are broken free from control with barely anything happening. It was so weird, like they suddenly found out they only had a few issues left so had to cram everything in before at least giving us a reasonably good ending. Very disappointing.

The artwork was similarly inconsistent, with some issues feeling rushed as they lack any real shading and look like they were hastily coloured in on a PC with no effort given. Also at the end of Street Fighter IV there were a bunch of mini-stories, some were fine, others were set way into the future of the comic storyline, and one had a stylised look that I didn’t really enjoy. They’re “freebies” to increase the page count so I can’t be too hard on them, but still…

Overall Thoughts:

Ooooh! So that’s why he has the name. To be honest him randomly flicking in a phone book would’ve made just as much sense… though admittedly would’ve been less exciting.

Street Fighter Classic Vol. 5 was a damp squib of an ending, rushing through a tournament that was four volumes worth of build-up and quickly giving us a half-decent ending as if to make up for it. Street Fighter IV was a harmless side-step, but by no means a must-read story either. An averagey end to this first phase of Street Fighter comics from UDON, let’s see if they manage to pull it back…

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