h1

Ryu Final: It’s Tiger Awesome!

February 26th, 2009 Posted by Gavok

I’ve always been a fan of the Street Fighter games and their stories. With the sudden resurgence of the series with its kickass new videogame and horrible, horrible new movie which I will unfortunately see on opening day because it probably won’t be in theaters anymore by Saturday, I’ve been checking out a lot of the comic-related stuff. While UDON has three different Street Fighter comics coming out at the same time (Street Fighter II Turbo, Street Fighter IV and a Chun-Li miniseries), I decided to give the manga Ryu Final a look.

I’m not usually a manga guy, but we had it at work and I wanted to give it a shot because it takes place during the course of Street Fighter III. I love the SF3 games and they never get any play. They always appear neglected by Capcom and a lot of the fans, such as the lack of any of its characters in SF4. I should also bring up the bizarre and confusing ordering of the game series’ canon. Some games replace others in continuity, even when they appear to be sequels. By the end of it, it looks like this:

– Street Fighter
– Street Fighter Alpha 2
– Street Fighter Alpha 3
– Super Street Fighter II Turbo
– Street Fighter IV
– Street Fighter III: Second Impact
– Street Fighter III: Third Strike

All while sharing the same universe with Final Fight, Rival Schools and Saturday Night Slam Masters.

Ryu Final takes place during Third Strike, the latest entry in terms of continuity. It follows Ryu, piecing together nearly all of his character interactions and the game endings that relate to him. A run-in with Ken ends with Ryu defeated and questioning why he even fights in the first place. Soon after, he meets with a crazy 150-year-old man named Oro who soundly defeats him and forces him under his wing as his new apprentice. The two of them wander the world together as Ryu takes on various SF3 characters like Hugo, Yun, Yang and Dudley.

This quest for answers brings Ryu closer and closer to his final battle against his main nemesis Akuma. Which reminds me that the manga is completely worth reading just for a flashback sequence that shows Ryu’s origin. Long story short, a younger Akuma saves a very young Ryu’s life by jumping out of the shadows in a cave, punching his fist THROUGH the back of a bear’s skull and stopping with his fist inches from Ryu’s face. The manga does well in adding more dimension to the Akuma character, even including an odd Killing Joke moment of laughter between Ryu and Akuma before their fight.

For me, it all boils down to how awesome Sagat is. For those who play the games, you’re probably wondering what the hell Sagat has to do with anything. He wasn’t in any of the SF3 games. As far as the canon goes, Sagat and Ryu agreed that Ryu would seek out Sagat when he was ready for them to have their true, clean fight. So during SF3, Sagat is just chilling out in Thailand. In this book, Ryu does meet up with him as to fulfill his promise of a rematch and the entire thing is totally sweet.

But there’s another part that’s great involving a flashback. We go back to see Sagat after SF1’s conclusion. Ryu had sucker-punched Sagat and gave him a huge, bloody wound on his chest in a major upset. Sagat’s top pupil has lost faith in him and Sagat has lost faith in himself. He responds to his loss by tearing apart trees in rage.

Then he finds that he almost crushed a kid during this. The boy is laying there, horribly wounded and half dead. A doctor finds that the wounds were caused by a tiger mauling him. There are poachers out there who will force children to act as decoys for the sake of catching their prey. Hearing about this, Sagat races into the jungle.

“What am I doing?! Am I going to defeat the poachers to avenge the young boy…?! NO!! I merely want to avenge my own honor… That is all I fight for! This has nothing to do with compassion… This is about making myself feel better! What a petty man I am! But… I don’t care! No one can stop me now!!”

There are two hunters going after a giant tiger. One gets mauled to death. Sagat steps in and stares down the tiger until it leaves. The surviving poacher is grateful, but Sagat calls him out on exploiting the children. He begins to slap the shit out of the guy repeatedly while bitching him out. His chest wound is still fresh and the pain kicks in again, causing him to hesitate and allowing the poacher to escape into his camp. The poacher brings out a little girl and holds a gun to her head, saying that he’ll let her go if Sagat forgets this night ever happened.

The wounded little boy from earlier shows up and yells at him to stop.


After the flashback, we see that these two siblings have grown up to be farmers who are loyal and close to Sagat. Sagat rules so very much.

But yeah, Ryu Final is worth a try if you’re riding the SF4 high. The UDON Street Fighter stuff isn’t bad either, now that it’s coming out regularly again, but I noticed a big problem in Seth’s plan in the first Street Fighter IV issue:

Don’t do it! That guy in the bottom right beat up Batman and can tear your spine out! Wait, never mind. I forgot that I hate Crimson Viper. Forget I said anything.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Fighting Game Comics Round-Up: Featuring Raul Julia, Wolf Hawkfield and Paul Phoenix!

November 28th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

Back when I was doing reviews on the old Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat comics, I found that there were comics made based on other one-on-one fighting games, such as Virtua Fighter and Tekken. I scored these two one-shots and sat on them for a while, knowing that they would be best saved for a rainy day. More than that, something seemed off about reviewing these two alone. I needed a third comic to round it out. One day, when reading about Street Fighter on Wikipedia, fate smacked me in the face.

Being a D-level comic blogger like I am, rather than turn away from this ink-and-paper demon spawn, I reacted with, “I need to own this!” I don’t know. Since this 4th Letter gig, I’ve been finding myself going out of my way just to read pure shit. Chris Eckert has the market cornered in making fun of Countdown, and yet I find myself wanting in. That’s why when the series finishes, I plan on reading the entire series in one go backwards Memento style! You know. For science. I might even try reading World War Hulk: Gamma Corps with all the text whited out. It might be interesting in a self-torturing way.

Let’s get DC’s Street Fighter: The Movie out of the way, because believe it or not, it’s going to get worse. A lot has been said about the movie. There are a ton of things wrong with it, but the most complained-about part is the complete lack of loyalty to the source.

The game’s story: A serious martial artist and his less-serious best friend go around the world to train and build themselves up as the greatest street fighters. The more serious one is hunted down by a megalomaniac out to exploit the martial artist’s physical potential. This villain is targeted by many, including an American military man and a Chinese Interpol agent who each harbor a personal vendetta. This all comes to a head in a one-on-one fighting tournament, featuring great fighters from all over the globe.

The movie’s story: A megalomaniac takes a bunch of hostages in Thailand. A military man with an American tattoo, despite having a foreign accent thicker than Double Stuffed Oreos, leads a world-wide military team into Thailand to save the day. Two weasely weapon salesmen, a Chinese news reporter and her camera men (who happen to be a sumo wrestler and a boxer) get involved. Plus a scientist turns one of the main character’s friends into a green monster.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

A Slight Change of Plans

March 24th, 2007 Posted by Gavok

With a heavy heart, I have to announce that the next installment of Deadshot’s Tophat and Other Beginnings is on hiatus. Nobody is more shocked and outraged about this turn of events than former Intercontinental Champion Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat.

I know, Nikita Koloff. I know. But I have a reason. A very good reason.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing too many updates lately. I’ve been using my free time to read through the latest Mick Foley autobiography, Hardcore Diaries. I loved his other two autobiographies, but this one left me sour. About as sour as Mick Foley comes across for most of this book. Interesting wrestling anecdotes take a backseat to stories of Mick meeting B-list celebrities, ragging on the President to the point that it gets real old, and telling countless stories about what a great humanitarian Foley is.

There’s something else I’ve been reading. Readers of the site might remember my acquisition of the first three issues of the Marvel WCW comic at the New York Comic Con. I decided that three issues wasn’t good enough. Not for me and not for you. Fortunately, I came across the entire run on eBay. Unfortunately, it means I own two copies of a comic issue featuring El Gigante. God help me.

I forced myself to read the series and it wasn’t easy. The Malibu Street Fighter comic wasn’t all that bad until the end. The Mortal Kombat comic was honestly pretty good in parts. Even Extreme Justice could keep my attention enough that I’d keep going on to see what could possibly be next. World Championship Wrestling, though, hurt. A lot. Once a friend got wind of what I was reading, he told me, “You could be doing literally anything else and it would be a better use of your time.”

But I can’t let you guys down. Deadshot’s Tophat can wait. I’m finishing up my last What If article (finally), but after that, it’s on. Me and the WCW comic. One-on-one. No holds barred. With hermanos barred from ringside.

Prepared to get Stingersized!

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Malibu’s Street Fighter Comic: Here Comes an Old Challenger!

September 28th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

(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.

Read the rest of this entry �

PlayPlay

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 14

September 26th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

The new Marvel solicitations have been released, detailing the new What Ifs. One is based on Deadly Genesis, which doesn’t interest me since I haven’t read that yet. The other, which looks to be awesome, is Age of Apocalypse. This time, Legion did kill Magneto… but he also killed Xavier. Judging from the cover, this could be very interesting.

35) WHAT IF THE AVENGERS FOUGHT THE KREE-SKRULL WAR WITHOUT RICK JONES?

Issue: Volume 1, #20
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Artist: Alan Kupperberg
Spider-Man death: No
Background: I myself haven’t read the Kree-Skrull War arc, but I get the gist of it from Wikipedia and the Watcher’s introduction. It doesn’t sound very good, all in all. The important parts to note are that the Super-Skrull had captured Captain Marvel, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver with Captain America, Goliath (Pym), Iron Man, Thor and Vision off to save them. Rick Jones somehow got captured by some Kree guys as the Kree’s fleet prepared to invade Earth. In the end, Rick met with the Supreme Intelligence, who betrayed the Kree. He stimulated Rick’s mind so that he mentally projected memories of his childhood heroes (ie. the Invaders and the like) to beat up the Kree fleet. Sounds retarded, but it was the 70’s. This version of the story is far better. There’s a part of the original story where Rick Jones was brought before Ronan the Accuser. Rick stole a guard’s staff and attacked Ronan, only to do no damage. Ronan noted Rick’s courage and figured he’d make a good slave. In the Tom DeFalco version, Ronan is more pissed than amused and kills the boy with his cosmic hammer dealy. He calls for the fleet to make way to Earth and decimate it.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

The Top 100 What If Countdown: Part 8

September 4th, 2006 Posted by Gavok

Just so the other Marvel alternate universes don’t feel left out, here are some quick reviews for a couple of them.

Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe: Fun, if it’s one of your first Garth Ennis stories. If not, you’ll be rolling your eyes.
Earth X: Strangely, I haven’t read it yet. One day.
Marvel Ruins: Depressing, hard to look at and pointless. A lot like the Steel movie.
The Last Avengers Story: You know why Kingdom Come worked? It knew who the Big 3 of the Justice League were and centered it on them. A brief cameo by Captain America, a vague explanation of Thor’s death as a flashback aside and absolutely no mention of Iron Man fails this comic. For shame, Peter David. For shame. Nobody cares about Henry Pym but you.

Now let’s get to what you came here for.

65) WHAT IF THE SILVER SURFER POSSESSED THE INFINITY GAUNTLET?

Issue: Volume 2, #49
Writer: Ron Marz
Artist: Scott Clark and Kevin West
Spider-Man death: Technically, yes
Background:Thanos had reached his goal and wielded the power of God himself through the Infinity Gauntlet. He fought the remainder of Earth’s greatest heroes with only a fraction of his full power, yet he still killed them off easily. The battle was all a plan by Adam Warlock in hopes to distract Thanos so the Silver Surfer could fly by and grab the Gauntlet off Thanos’ hand. He missed. Then a lot of stupid stuff happened. So if he did grab it, it would kind of have to make for a better story, right?

With a successful steal, the Silver Surfer stands before the depowered Thanos and Captain America. Adam Warlock (I keep trying to type “Adam Strange” when I bring him up) pops in to thank the Surfer and asks for the Gauntlet. The Silver Surfer refuses, as only the Silver Surfer can be trusted with such power. He takes the omnipotence, claiming it to be a burden that needs to be carried. First he undoes all of Thanos’ destruction. Earth is set back the way it was and all the heroes are resurrected. Terraxia is destroyed since she was never meant to exist.

Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

h1

Infinite Christmas Part Two: The 12 Days of Vengeance

December 20th, 2005 Posted by Gavok

Superman #163: What Do You Get the JLA for Christmas?

This very special issue of Superman comes from 2001, after Lex Luthor was elected President. In it, Superman goes around meeting with various JLA members to complain about the Luthor situation before giving them a crappy Christmas gift. Then he goes and fucks Lois in the city of Kandor while ripping off Plastic Man’s jokes.

The list of presents are as follows:

For Plastic Man: rubber bands
For Martian Manhunter: a box of Ore— er Chocos Cookies
For Aquaman: a Metropolis snow globe
For Green Lantern (the one without pubes): jewelry polish
For Flash: tube socks
For Wonder Woman: a tiny replica of Mjolnir, no doubt to remind her of the most unimportant subplot in Marvel vs. DC
For Batman: a magnifying glass
For Booster Gold and The Question: supporting character roles on the greatest cartoon on TV

A gimmick of the issue was that each segment was drawn by a different artist. That included the absolute horror of Rob Liefeld drawing Aquaman. Read the rest of this entry �

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon