[Review] Super Street Fighter Volume 1: New Generation
Udon Entertainment has been working on the Street Fighter series for years now and they’ve finally begun venturing outside of Street Fighter 2. With Super Street Fighter, we begin to see the series move forward and tackle the Street Fighter 3 and 4 era which is quite a departure from their predecessors. With this being the first hardcover in the series, I’m hoping the thicker skin made for a solid read.
For all extents and purposes, Udon Entertainment is an artist factory first and a comic publisher second. This is a thing you do have to consider when buying their books. While this hardcover has 144 pages inside, 46 of them are sketches. Included are really good sketches from various artists of your favorite street fighters. If you are one of those that doesn’t solely rely on pretty pictures and wants more story for your buck, there’s a heads up for you.
To those that are looking for a bit of pretty with a side of their comics, the sketch gallery mostly delivers. It sticks to black and white sharpies, some pencils and other techniques. They look great and the quality of the sketches is of a much higher caliber than the comics. This should be obvious as it’s easier to draw a set pose over a fight scene, but for those out there that like art, there is something here to look forward to.
The main issue with Super Street Fighter Volume 1: New Generation is that it’s not a very focused story. It jumps from Guile’s attempt to recruit the newest fighters to take down Gill and decides to randomly throw in some fights in the middle of the story. It’s an odd thing to read Guile’s story interrupted by Dudley and Balrog (Boxer) fighting and then Honda’s attempt to get into the Olympics. It’s not focused and a bit out of sorts.
This might be less annoying if the story were much better. I know you aren’t supposed to expect much from video game comics, especially from a fighting game, but the entire first volume of the story is Guile is taking down the Secret Society and gets attacked for little to no reason twice before finding out Ryu got kidnapped.
That’s all that happens in the main story and it barely gets all that interesting.
Far more interesting is the offshoot bonus round fights in this book from whichever artist they could find that week to draw a random fight between equally random fighters. This is where the heart of these artists kinda come alive. By far the best matchup is the Dudley vs Balrog matchup. This single fight brings out why you would pick up a Street Fighter comic book.
It gives you a setup you wanted to see happen. Unfortunately, this should be in the main storyline and not in some little 7 page offshoot comics. I also shouldn’t be getting different artists attacking the central plot line if we’re going to be doing that. You jump ship to run in to some other story arc 9 times in this comic.
If you are going to do all that, just make it a book of oneshots. It would easily be a more comfortable read. All in all, 46 pages are story related, 46 pages are art, 39 pages are oneshots, and the final 13 are bland filler pages and ads.
I say all this as a warning to those that are on the fence. This book has some hit or miss art from many different talented people. It can show you something really amazing to see, then follow it up with standard fare. The only thing tying it all together is the simple joy there is from reading your favorite games transcribed on paper in bizarre and fun ways. The set ups aren’t there, the art changes practically every time you start feeling comfortable, and even the word bubbles fail to really capture any of the action in the book.
It’s still cool to see Dhalsim fight Twelve. You can’t even get that from Capcom. Udon books tend to put out amazing attempts, but they don’t have the structure to pay off. They don’t take the risks that Malibu did in the 90s and they don’t have the focus either. However, they make a darn fine little art book, which is exactly what this is.
Final Breakdown: Okay
[+Diverse Art] [+Fun Side Stories] [+Hardcover ] [+Interesting Fights] [-Unfocused Presentation] [-Odd Setups] [-Uneven Writing]