Friday, August 7, 2015


Story: Ken Siu-Chong* | Pencils: Joe Ng* | Inks: Crystal Reid
Colors: Espen Grunderjern | Lettering: Marshall Dillon
Chief of Operations: Erik Ko | Managing Editor Matt Moylan

I don't know if it's Capcom's "canon" that STREET FIGHTER IV takes place concurrently with STREET FIGHTER II, but that's the route Ken Siu-Chong has gone here, and it works pretty well. It seems that while the world's eyes are focused on Bison's tournament on Shadaloo Island, as covered a few weeks ago in STREET FIGHTER II TURBO, Shadaloo's R&D division, S.I.N. (the Shadaloo Intimidation Network) is conducting its own secret operation.

S.I.N. is headed by Fifteen, another aspect of M. Bison's plan to live beyond his mortal span. Killer Bee was the first, a girl infused with Bison's DNA, awaiting the day he could transfer his consciousness into her body. Fifteen is also a spawn of the mad dictator, in this case one of several such numbered clones. He craves free will, but was programmed to serve Shadaloo unquestioningly. And here he serves by kidnapping several powerful fighters in order to drain them of any traces of the Dark Hadou in order to harness that power for Bison.

Carrying out the kidnappings is Crimson Viper, a renowned spy-for-hire. I seem to recall that at the time STREET FIGHTER IV was released, Viper seemed positioned to be the breakout character. Certainly she was all over Capcom's marketing for the game. Here she's more or less the co-headliner of the series, as we quickly learn that she's infiltrating S.I.N. on behalf of some (hopefully) more benevolent force.

And if Viper is one half of the series' main protagonists, Abel would be the other. His origins are shrouded in mystery, having been discovered years ago in a Shadaloo lab by Charlie Nash, and liberated. With no memory of his past life, Abel was "adopted" by a mercenary, an old friend of Charlie's, and became a merc himself. Here, he gets wind that Crimson Viper is kidnapping fighters and, working on a huge leap in logic, guesses that perhaps her mission is somehow connected to his missing past.

But that's really the only major story flaw in this one. Siu-Chong brings everything together pretty well, revealing that Abel is another of Bison's numbered clones, then bringing Akuma, drawn to S.I.N. HQ by the strong Dark Hadou emanations, to defeat the blue-skinned villain. But Fifteen survives and, as the kidnapped fighters escape and Viper departs to report back to her shadowy employers, Fifteen announces that Akuma's attacks have beat some free will into him and assumes the name Seth.

Interestingly, Viper learns that Seth is still out there and accepts a mission to take him down, and the story ends with a "To Be Continued" blurb. Furthermore, the STREET FIGHTER IV hardcover collection is listed on its cover as "Volume One". But this mini-series was published in 2009 and there hasn't yet been a follow-up (though to be fair, UDON took a bit of a hiatus from new STREET FIGHTER comics between 2009 and 2013, so it's not like there was a wealth of other SF books coming out in that span either).

At any rate, following from the three LEGENDS minis, this series is a return to form for STREET FIGHTER comics. It's well plotted, decently scripted, and beautifully illustrated by Joe Ng. Unlike, for example, IBUKI, which introduced a bunch of characters I couldn't have cared less about, STREET FIGHTER IV gives us some genuinely interesting -- and well designed -- characters to enjoy. I like Crimson Viper quite a bit, and Abel is interesting, if a little generic/derivative. But Fifteen/Seth has a really cool visual, as do most of the other newly introduced fighters.

Plus we get to see a few old friends pop up, as Sakura and Dan, both playable characters in STREET FIGHTER IV, are among those kidnapped by Viper. One prologue drops an appearance by perennial Shadaloo loser Birdy, while another features a cameo by Thunder Hawk, revealed to be a childhood friend of newcomer El Fuerte -- and El Fuerte himself is obsessed with Rainbow Mika, so Sakura brings her by to meet him as the story comes to an end.

Which brings up another point in Siu-Chong's favor -- continuity. The SAKURA mini is referenced a few times, with regards to Sakura's friendship with Mika as well as the fact that El Fuerte recognizes Sakura from the televised hot dog eating contest. Plus, of course, we have Dan claiming Sakura is his pupil since he accepted her into his training (against her will) in her eponymous series. It's nice to see that, even though he's telling these stories through multiple mini-series across several years, Siu-Chong is mindful of what he's previously established.

Curiously, the collected edition also features a few backup stories setting the stage for Capcom's side-scrolling action game, FINAL FIGHT, both of these also inexplicably ending with "To Be Continued?" tags. (Note the question mark, which seems to imply that not even UDON is sure they'll do a full-fledged FINAL FIGHT comic. I'd read it, mind you. I liked that game a lot as a kid, and I think UDON could do it justice with the right artist(s) on board.)

Rounding out this particular collection of STREET FIGHTER IV are two more short stories introducing characters from STREET FIGHTER III. First up is a trenchcoated mystery man named Q, followed by a young man named Alex and a peculiar rainbow colored fellow who bears a striking resemblance to him, named Gill. These stories are also "To Be Continued", but in the case of Alex, at least, we're promised that will happen in the first SUPER STREET FIGHTER original graphic novel -- which we will take a look at in just two short weeks.

Available now from

*Additional Story Credits Matt Moylan & Jim Zub
Additional Art Credits: Chris Stevens, Eric Vedder, Bob Strang, Takeshi Miyazawa, Saejin Oh

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