(Note: I originally posted this article about a year ago, but it fell off the site when hermanos redesigned it. Since we have Mortal Kombat Armageddon coming out in a week and a half, I thought now would be the best time to repost the Malibu comics articles. Expect to see the Mortal Kombat articles back over the next few days)
Street Fighter 2 is probably the most defining videogame in my life. When it came out, I was downright obsessed with it. I’d still be obsessed with it if Capcom would get around to making a new installment. Instead, they give us crap like Capcom Fighting Evolution, which defines itself for the wrong reasons. It actually is Capcom fighting the very concept of evolution.
Back in the 90’s, there was a lot of silly Street Fighter crap that came from the United States. Who can forget the live action Street Fighter movie starring Van Damme and Raul Julia? Or the awful American cartoon? Or the GI Joe action figures? Even worse was the 3D rollercoaster ride where Ryu and Ken blast M. Bison in the balls with a double hadoken.
These days, UDON releases a Street Fighter comic that is pretty good. The art is great and all the various characters are done very well. Granted, there’s not enough Adon in the series, but I can forgive that. After all, at least this series had him show up for a couple issues. He wasn’t even mentioned in the Malibu comic.
This series came out in 1993 and was made before Super Street Fighter 2 hit the scene with its four new characters. At the time, there were only 12 characters at the writer’s disposal (there could’ve been more if he wanted to delve into SF1, but whatever), and very little was known about their storylines. All they really had to go on was conjecture and the like.
What is going on with M. Bison’s face there? His ear is creeping me out.
Just to get it out of the way, the art is shit. Good, we don’t have to dwell on that anymore.
The first issue isn’t that offensive. In the beginning, we see Ryu fighting Sagat at the end of the first Street Fighter tournament. It’s actually a video that M. Bison is showing Sagat for no reason other than to make him angry. This prompts a Sagat vs. Balrog fight out of nowhere, until Bison shouts at them to stop behaving like children. Surprisingly, Bison is angrier about the fighting than he is about Sagat destroying a perfectly good monitor.
Looks like he’s either doing the Scott Hall Outsiders taunt or the Dragon Ball Fusion Dance.
Bison brings up that Sagat has to defeat Ryu to regain his respect. To get Ryu’s attention, Sagat has to get to him through his friends: Ken and Chun-Li.
Ryu and Chun-Li has always been one of the more popular fan pairings. It’s always been figured that since Ryu is the main character and Chun-Li is the top female (and they’re both Asian), they would have to end up together. In actuality, the two never really had much to do with each other in the game’s story. Their only connection is brought up in Ryu’s ending for Street Fighter Alpha 3. Not to say that they didn’t team up from time to time in other mediums, such as the Street Fighter V anime series and the Street Fighter Alpha anime movie.
Here, they at least get it right to some extent. The two can’t truly be together because Ryu is too deep into his own training. He is also pretty offended with Chun-Li’s revenge fantasies against M. Bison and her recent joining of the Chinese Interpol. Chun-Li makes a reference to Ken and Ryu’s master, which causes a shiver to go down my spine. I’ll elaborate later.
We see a bit of Ken’s backstory in all of this. While he’s a great fighter, he really isn’t shown as being more than Ryu’s manager. Like some kind of poorly-dressed Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, he goes around getting all the popularity while Ryu actually fights.
Ken’s gone into semi-retirement and does nothing but commercials and living the high-life. After a commercial shoot, Ken finds Balrog waiting for him in an alley, brandishing brass knuckles. Balrog picks a fight with Ken and the two go at it. At one point Ken fires a hadoken, which he throws upward and it hits Balrog while soaring downward. Huh.
The fight goes back and forth a bit, and isn’t that bad, other than Ken’s constant shouting of, “FIREBALL!” Once Ken gets the upper hand, Balrog has his goons shoot at Ken so he can get some distance. Ken thinks that he can go home since the fight is over, but things get worse when he finds Sagat of all people standing behind him.
A majority of this issue is a long fight between Ken and Sagat, where the tired Ken realizes that Sagat and Balrog are in league with each other. Again, the fight isn’t that bad, even if it does suffer from Sagat tossing his fireballs upward and them still making contact with Ken.
In fact, more than half of the fireballs tossed in the series are tossed upwards and still hit their mark. It’s silly.
There’s a scene where Bison asks for a status report from Balrog, while the new Shadaloo recruit Vega fights some guys in the background. To drive the point of how powerful his organization is, Bison starts punching some guy who is just randomly standing right behind him. Yeah, I don’t know either.
Sagat reflects back to what happened to him after Ryu beat him. Sagat became a disgrace in Thailand and ended up killing a guy in a fight. He was tossed in prison, but Bison released him and had him join Shadaloo. Balrog, meanwhile, screws with Ken more by telling people that they’re filming a movie and to go ask Ken for his autograph.
Eventually, Sagat wins the fight and proclaims, “It is done! I have taken my first step on my road to Hell!” I’m guessing that beating a man to death in a bar fight doesn’t count. Sagat takes a knife and does something graphically bloody to Ken. Hopefully it’s something above the belt.
Ryu, meanwhile, has a flashback to his days training with Ken. It’s here that we get a minor glimpse at one of the more cringe-worthy characters of the story: Sheng Long.
You see, after winning matches in the game, Ryu would occasionally say, “You must defeat Sheng Long to stand a chance.” The videogame magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly used this to create a joke for their April issue. Using doctored photos, they revealed that Sheng Long was Ryu and Ken’s master. By doing something overly ridiculous (playing as Ryu, getting to Bison without getting hit and then going 20 rounds without ever touching Bison), Sheng Long would show up, kill Bison and then fight you. It was a load of crap, but people fell for it. This includes the writer of this articl– I mean, the writer of this Street Fighter comic.
Ryu reflects on Ken and decides that he must rebuild their friendship. Just then, a car shows up and tries to run Ryu over. Ryu sidesteps and lets the car crash into a tree. He finds a box addressed to him and opens it up to find a bunch of bloody clothes and Ken’s scalp!
“WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?”
And so ends the second issue. Art and Sheng Long aside, I didn’t really think this was that bad. At least, not bad enough to point and make fun of. Not Extreme Justice bad.
Then I saw the cover for the third and final issue. Oh, God. This is going to get worse before it gets better. If at all.
Ah, the Ferret. Because somebody at Malibu wanted to see what happens when you mix Aquaman, Sabertooth and Lobo together.
As the issue begins, we see the other Street Fighters reacting to the news of Ken’s apparent death. They each take out their aggressions on different things. Blanka beats up some jerks who make fun of him. Zangief fights two bears at once and snaps their necks. Dhalsim meditates, and then kicks the heads off some holy statues. So according to Dhalsim, it’s okay to snap a crucifix over your knee if you’re really angry.
Guile gets drunk at a bar and proceeds to beat up every single guy in there. Two of the guys he fights include a guy, who for some reason wasn’t wearing a shirt, and cult-favorite musician, the late Wesley Willis.
I was not going to play that outrageous shit
He bombarded me with a Flash Kick
His hair was flat and symmetrical
STREET FIGHTER TWO!!
STREET FIGHTER TWO!!
STREET FIGHTER TWO!!
Rock over London
Rock over Chicago
It will give you wings
Guile wins and trashes the bar, while thinking that Ken was probably killed by Shadaloo, much like his old friend Charlie. When the bartender complains about the damage, Guile starts screaming something about how he was in Desert Storm before leveling the building with a Sonic Boom. He then punches the guy for good measure. God, Guile is a fucking asshole.
Up in an airplane, we meet Cal Denton, otherwise known as the Ferret. The Ferret was one of Malibu’s superheroes, meaning we are in for one painful crossover. Also, he is drawn to look exactly like Ken in his civilian appearance. Thankfully, they never delve into that concept. On the plane, he sits next to the sumo master E. Honda, who talks to him about Ken. Cal laughs about how his “friend” the Ferret could kick any Street Fighter’s ass, leading to Honda inviting him to his dojo.
Of course, Ferret does a really shitty job of keeping his identity a secret.
Honda more or less dominates the sparring by showing off his main attacks: the Hundred Hand Slap, the Flying Head-butt, and the… uh… Butt-Crunch. No, really. After finishing mopping the floor with the Ferret, Honda hugs the life out of him and laughs about how fun their training was. Now Honda is ready to go after those who attacked Ken. As the scene ends, Ferret sets up a second crossover with Honda meeting Ferret’s friend Amazing Man (not to be confused with the guy from Extreme Justice). Thankfully, that meeting never comes into fruition.
The end of the comic shows the home of Sheng Long, who has been poisoned by Shadaloo in order to keep him out of action. His nurse is a young woman named Nida, who aids Sheng Long a bit before going into another room. In that room is a training dummy with Ryu’s picture over it. She takes a couple spears and destroys it, swearing revenge.
And so ends the third issue of Street Fighter. Almost. You see, there is still one more section left. We are given this message:
“As many of you might have heard, due to complications with Capcom and their dislike of our adaptation of the most popular game in the world, concluding with this issue, Street Fighter the comic book has officially been cancelled. We formally apologize for the dissatisfaction and disappointment we know this news can and will generate. We are true fans of Street Fighter, so even though we will no longer be publishing it, we sincerely hope someone does!”
You read that? As bad as the American movies, cartoons and amusement park rides were, Capcom never stepped in to say, “This sucks, stop it.” They must have hated the crap out of this comic!
Or maybe they didn’t like how Adon never made an appearance. That’s what I figure.
From there, they explained what was going to happen with the rest of the story, breaking it down character-by-character. Some didn’t really go very in-depth, only claiming stuff that we already know. According to his section, Blanka (spelled “Blanca” here) wants to avenge Ken because Ken was nice enough to teach him how to read. I guess that explains this:
The most interesting section is that of M. Bison:
“Bison has appeared as the ultimate evil man in the Street Fighter community. He has carefully put together a small army of corrupted Street Fighters including Sagat, Balrog and Vega to destroy the rest, beginning with Ken. But this was all only an introduction to a much more sinister plot: M. Bison had made a deal with dark forces to create evil twins of every Street Fighter, so the ultimate battle would have been every man and woman against his or herself, literally. Which poses the question: are the three Street Fighters working for Bison evil twins? If so, where are the real Sagat, Balrog and Vega?”
Wow. That would’ve been painful. Well, I guess Capcom knew what they were doing back then.
Or maybe not.