Friday, June 19, 2015


Writer: Ken Siu-Chong | Art & Color: UDON Studios*
Assistant Script Editor: Marina Siu-Chong | Project Manager: Jim Zubkavich
Managing Editor: Marshall Dillon | UDON Chief: Erik Ko

STREET FIGHTER's second story arc delves a little deeper into the series' mythology and characterizations, presenting what I would consider to be a much more enjoyable whole than the previous set of issues. Interestingly, the main thrust of this arc focuses on the two distaff members of the STREET FIGHTER II cast, Chun-Li and Cammy, to nice effect. Where previously Chun-Li's role in the story was as a liaison and partner to Guile, here she strikes out on her own, investigating Shadaloo activity in Hong Kong. She works alongside action movie star Fei Long and her former teacher, an assassin named Gen who was close with her father, to thwart a Shadaloo plot to control the Triad gangs. This puts her onto a new lead which sends her to Brazil to investigate Shadaloo activity there.

But Chun-Li isn't the only fighter bound for South America. Cammy, the girl known previously as Shadaloo's Killer Bee, has joined a British special forces organization called Delta Red. Delta Red also crosses paths with Shadaloo and captures one of their "doll" agents, the same female warriors previously led by Killer Bee. The amnesiac Cammy unexpectedly gains the girl's trust and learns that Shadaloo is developing a new weapon in Brazil. In short order, Delta Red arrives in South America to pool their resources with Interpol. There they encounter Chun-Li, who recognizes Cammy as her father's assassin and the two get into a fight.

As a kid, Chun-Li was my favorite STREET FIGHTER character. I've always been best (which is not saying much) with the quick characters in fighting games, and Chun-Li was the fastest of the original group (plus she could bounce off walls, which was pretty cool). So as the STREET FIGHTER franchise continued, I kept playing Chun-Li more than almost anyone else**. Thus it's nice to see her take the spotlight through the majority of this story arc, including beating the stuffing out of Cammy before making amends and then fighting Shadaloo alongside Delta Red.

Cammy, on the other hand, I have little connection to as a character, though Siu-Chong handles her well here. She's haunted by a past she can't remember, and as she gradually learns things about herself, she's horrified by the person she once was. It's a good hook for a character. I question the timing of her joining Delta Red, however -- she was dropped in England by Rose at the end of the first story arc and then, by the time this second arc begins -- a couple months later at best, as evidenced by dialogue -- she's suddenly a full-fledged member of a British special ops team. You'd think they might try to vet her before tossing her on the roster, skilled fighter or not.

The Delta Red characters, as I understand it, were created for a STREET FIGHTER manga and later found their way into official continuity. (They even made an appearance in the awful American STREET FIGHTER cartoon series!) Here the group consists of Colonel Wolfman, the leader with ridiculous (even by STREET FIGHTER standards) hair, plus agents Luwanda, McCoy, and Ginzu. For the record, every time I've seen this group, based on the artwork I've thought Ginzu was a young girl -- but, in grabbing the characters' names from the STREET FIGHTER Wiki for this post, I've learned that "her" first name is George. So either Ginzu is a really effeminate young man (which is fine), or "she" is a girl named George.

At any rate: Chun-Li and Cammy aren't the only fighters given page time in these issues. Ryu and Sakura, traveling the world, wind up in India where they meet Sagat's former pupil, Adon. Ryu defeats Adon in battle but his world tour is cut short when Ken calls him back to the United States for wedding party photos (his fiancee, Eliza, is pregnant -- a fact revealed during the last arc -- and wants the pictures taken before she "shows"). The photo session takes place in Las Vegas, where world heavyweight boxing champion Balrog, secretly an agent of Shadaloo, recognizes Ken and calls up Vega, offering him a chance at revenge for his defeat at Ken's hands previously. Vega, acting commander of Shadaloo during Bison's "death", heads for Vegas and crashes the wedding party with Balrog and several thugs.

Another tidbit which came up previously but which I didn't mention last time is that Guile and Ken are brothers-in-law by way of having married a pair of sisters (a fact apparently revealed officially in STREET FIGHTER IV). I can't decide if I like this or not. On on hand it comes across as kind of a big coincidence in the first story arc, when the guy Guile suspects of being a Shadaloo operative just happens to be his brother-in-law's best friend. But once you swallow that, the dynamic between the men is enhanced considerably by this relationship. Thus Guile, his wife Julia, and their daughter Amy are also present for the festivities and Guile joins the fight, saving Ken's life from Vega. In the end, Vega escapes and Ken is hospitalized but stable. Ryu plans to send Sakura home to Japan and then return to India, now with a goal of finding Sagat, the only man who has ever pushed him to his limit as a fighter, in order to better understand the dark power within himself.

Then, as the volume comes to a close, Shadaloo's top scientist, having escaped Chun-Li and Delta Red in Brazil, returns to the organization's headquarters with a newly constructed piece of the "Psycho Drive", the device which will return Bison to life.

After spending the first story arc setting up the main characters, their relationships and conflicts, as well as providing a short arc for the villainous M. Bison, Siu-Chong now spends a bit of time fleshing out the world these fighters inhabit. Ryu and Sakura visit India, fighting Adon at the backdrop populated by Sagat in the original STREET FIGHTER II video game. In Brazil, we're introduced to another fighter, the green jungle beast Blanka, who is presented here -- as in other continuities -- as a Shadaloo experiment. And Balrog, who was barely touched upon in the first arc, is given a spotlight as well.

The intrigue this time around is more engrossing than previously as well. I had very little interest in Charlie's storyline during the first story arc, and Akuma has never impressed me all that much. But here, Chun-Li's mission against the Shadaloo-led Triad is fun and the stuff with Cammy is pretty good too; especially once she and Chun-Li meet one another. The part of this arc I really like, though, is the stuff in Vegas. Seeing Ken and Ryu fighting side-by-side is always fun, and having them square off against two "bosses", Balrog and Vega at the same time, is very cool. The artwork is beautiful as always too, with the fight choreography continuing to impress while the cartoony characters are very fun to look at.

I'd say that the second STREET FIGHTER arc is generally stronger than the first, in no small part due to Siu-Chong having already set up the characters last time around, thus allowing them to breathe a bit more naturally here. It's still not high art, but I wouldn't want it to be. It's STREET FIGHTER!

Available now as part of STREET FIGHTER CLASSIC volume 1 and volume 2.

*Additional Credits from STREET FIGHTER: THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION volume 1:
Guest Writer: Andre Greenidge
Artists: Alvin Lee, Arnold Tsang, Omar Dogan, Andrew Hou, Long Vo, Noi Sackda, Eric Vedder, Rob Ross, Alan Tam, Scott Hepburn, M3TH
Special Guest Artists: Joe Madureira, Adam Warren, J. Scott Campbell, Kevin Lau, Kaare Andrews, Hyung-Tae Kim, Salvador Larroca, Ale Garza, LeSean Thomas, Andy Seto, Josh Middleton, Adrian Alphona, Christina Strain, Keron Grant, Danimation, Carlo Barberi
Colorists: Andrew Hou, Arnold Tsang, Ben Huen, Charles Park, Christine Choi, Gary Yeung, Hanna Chen, Herbert Kwan, Joy Ang, Kevin Yan, Omar Dogan, Ramil Sunga, Roberto Campus, Saka, Shane Law

** Again, it's not saying much due to my minimal skills, but in the MARVEL VS. CAPCOM games, watch out when I team up Spider-Man and Chun-Li -- the most hyphenated fighting team the world has ever seen!


  1. I was almost always Ryu, in part because his Hadouken was one of the few special moves I had memorized back in the arcade days, but mainly just because there's nothing O love more than my square-jawed leader type characters who get overshadowed by their flashier peers. :)

    Also, kudos on managing not to mix up "Vega" and "Vegas" at any point.

    1. Kudos are due to my autocorrect then, for not randomly changing one to the other and vice versa. We got a Mac recently, and I'm not used to the computer "fixing" things as much as it does. Word does small corrections, but the Mac does a lot more, on par with the iPhone.