Street Fighter #1 (Malibu)
September 26, 2011
Anyone who opposes Bison shall be destroyed! Quick, everybody oppose him so we don't have to read this junk.
Linkara: Hello, and welcome to Atop the Fourth Wall, where bad comics burn. When I get a massive amount of requests to do a comic, I'm usually able to give the people what they want.
(A montage of comics that Linkara reviewed is shown)
Linkara (v/o): The biggest one I used to get were Sonic comics, but I fulfilled that a year ago. There was also "Ultimatum"; did that a few months ago. The "Doom" comic was irritating because I couldn't get a physical copy of the thing, but hey, the things available for free online anyway, so I was willing to compromise there.
(Now cut to a shot of a comic yet to be looked at: "Street Fighter #1" from Malibu)
Linkara (v/o): The Malibu Comics' "Street Fighter" series, however, is one that's lasted as long as this show. Tons of people have wanted me to look at these things, and I just needed to call out to people during my live show at MagFest to get people to send me copies. And they responded in droves, sending me email after email of offers to get rid of these things.
Linkara: Well, I'm happy to report that your efforts have paid off and I am now the (makes "finger quotes") "proud" owner of the first three issues of the Malibu Comics' "Street Fighter" series, not only in individual issues, but also a trade collecting them.
(The title for the game Street Fighter II: The World Warrior is shown, along with a profile of one of the characters, Ryu)
Linkara (v/o): I admit, however, that I have no real connection to Street Fighter II. As I've stated before, I grew up with the Sega Genesis, and while there was a Genesis version of Street Fighter II, I was more into Mortal Kombat...
(A clip of the game is shown, displaying Ryu battling Zangief)
Linkara (v/o): ...much to the chagrin of my mother, who refused to let us have the game in the house because of the blood and violence. Instead, I got to play such games as...
(Cut to a shot of the title for said game...)
Linkara (v/o): ...Wolverine: Adamantium Rage.
(Cut to a clip of Linkara's review of that game)
Linkara: (audio from video; into a soda can) ADAMANTIUM RAGE! (hits himself with it) Ow!
(Cut back to the present-day Linkara)
Linkara: Yeah, that worked out well for me. Still, the question is, with the reputation this comic has, is it truly as bad as I've been told? Well, let's dig into (holds up today's comic) "Street Fighter #1" and find out.
(AT4W title sequence plays; title card has the Street Fighter II title music playing in the background; cut to a closeup of the comic's cover)
Linkara (v/o): The cover is... Wow, this is awful. I think the only thing I can say is a positive to the covers is that all the characters that we see here are in fact in the comic. Where do I even go from there? The poses are just... odd. Ryu (pronounces it "RIGH-yu") is hunched over as he runs, like he's some kind of big ape or something. Ken is feeling himself up and Sagat is getting a good chuckle over that.
(Editor's note: "Sorry if I mispronounced his name – again, not a big Street Fighter fan here.")
Linkara (v/o): On the other side of the cover, Chun Li is the only one actually looking decent as she strikes a pose, though I admit I'm kinda bothered by the sheer size of her spiked bracelets. Yeah, I know she wears those in the games, but the spikes seem like they're ridiculously huge here. You'll take your eye out with those things! I could also comment on how generic and lackluster the cover is, what with it just being a bunch of people posing and no real background to speak of. However, I think I'll instead focus my ire toward the artwork. What the hell is up with the artwork?! I mean, dear Lord, look at M. Bison. It's like his face is melting! Similarly, Ryu now has beady little eyes and sunken-in cheeks. Oh, and let's not even get started on the coloring. Am I the only one who thinks Chun Li is looking a little yellow on the face? Classy!
(The comic opens to the first page)
Linkara (v/o): We open with – what else? – a fight in progress. Ryu is fighting Sagat, who is promptly getting his ass handed to him by Ryu's fireball hand as he yells out...
Ry: Dragon punch!
Linkara: You know, forgive me for nitpicking, but does someone want to explain why, if the entire point of Street Fighter is that it's a tournament, mystical energy balls, like Hadoukens and Sonic Booms are legal maneuvers?
(The cover is shown again)
Linkara (v/o): This also made me stop and think for a second about Street Fighter's story; namely, what the hell is Street Fighter's story, anyway? I admit, I can be pretty lazy with my research, but I couldn't find just a straight-up plot synopsis for individual games on Wikipedia or even on a Street Fighter wiki that I found. Oh, sure, there was backstory on the characters in the game, their relations to one another, their motivations, and etc. It seems like it'd be really simple to just say what the plot is and what the Street Fighter tournament actually is. Who's officiating these?
(Back to the first page again)
Linkara (v/o): Why do the tournaments always occur in crowded areas instead of a controlled environment? Who determines who's fighting who, and at what times? What is the ultimate goal of the tournament? I did manage to find a Street Fighter plot guide that indicated the plot of Street Fighter II basically amounts to M. Bison organizing the tournament to try to rid the world of anyone who could stop his plan to – take over the world – take over the world.
(Cut to the inevitable clip of the Street Fighter movie, showing M. Bison saying that classic line...)
M. Bison (Raul Julia): Of course!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Heh, that one was just obvious. Anyway, it occurs to me that putting a bullet in their heads would be a lot easier than putting together a martial arts tournament. And even then, I'm sure people might object to it being a battle to the death, and it has to be. Otherwise, how would just a simple tournament stop people from foiling your plans?
Linkara: Now, I know what many of you are thinking: it's a fighting game; the plot doesn't matter! The point is to have fun seeing unique-looking characters square off and beat the crap out of each other. And I nod my head and say that yes, for a fighting game, the plot is not that important. However, I am reading a comic based on that fighting game, (becomes angry) SO I EXPECT TO FIND SOME STORY IN THE COMIC!
Linkara (v/o): Also, this is another nitpicky point, but calling it "Dragon Punch" just sounds wrong as opposed to calling it a Shoryuken. Yes, I know Dragon Punch is legitimately canon, but Shoryuken sounds more unique than "insert animal in front of fighting move here".
Linkara: (putting comic down) Now, if you'll excuse me, I must go practice my Dung Beetle Flying Kick. (gets up and leaves)
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, the Dragon Punch burns a scar into Sagat's chest.
Sagat: You... burned me!
Linkara: (as Ryu) That's right, Sagat! I just burned you, man!
Ryu: A lesson, Sagat! To remind you of your defeat... by Ryu!
Linkara (v/o): What's with him talking in the third person right there?
Linkara: (as Ryu) Now I'm going to go eat a sandwich made... by Ryu!
Linkara (v/o): Sagat tries to attack again, but gets kicked repeatedly for his trouble. Turns out this is a recording, and we cut to Sagat in somebody's living room... and he smashes the TV with his own fireball move.
Sagat: Stop it... NOW!
Linkara: (as Sagat) Stupid reality TV! Why won't it stop?!
Linkara (v/o): Balrog is also with him and tells him not to take that tone with the boss or else he'll have to trim him down to size.
Sagat: How dare you, Balrog! (punches him) For ten years, I reigned supreme in the World Arena!
Linkara (v/o): And that's all he has to say, just that he reigned supreme in the world arena. Also, what's going on with his mouth there? Is he doing a Stallone thing?
(Cut to a clip of Judge Dredd)
Judge Dredd (Sylvester Stallone): I NEVER BROKE THE LAW! I AM THE LAW!
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Okay, that's it. From now on, I'm doing Sagat with a Stallone voice. Balrog is a boxer, so he manages to fight back and... uh, clone his fist three times to repeatedly hit him.
Sagat: (in Stallone's voice) That did it!! Your American boxing is nothing against Muy Thai!
Linkara: (uncomfortably) Oh, so maybe the Stallone voice doesn't work when he's putting down boxing. (beat) Aw, screw it, I'm sticking with this thing.
Linkara (v/o): They fight some more – and get used to me saying that a lot in this review – but M. Bison arrives and tells them to knock it off. Also, if this is supposed to be Bison's place, he's got some weird interior decorators working for him, given what they did to the floor.
M. Bison: You are an embarrassment to my organization with your constant squabbling! You are supposed to be street fighters, not children!!
Linkara: (as M. Bison) That's it, I'm taking your names off the character selection screen! (points offscreen) Now go to your rooms!
Linkara (v/o): By the by, anyone else ever notice that M. Bison has the same color scheme as Magneto? (as M. Bison) I am M. Bison, master of magnet!
(Cut to a clip of the Street Fighter movie, showing M. Bison)
M. Bison: (confronting Guile) This is merely superconductor electromagnetism. Surely you've heard of it. It levitates bullet trains from Tokyo to Osaka. And it levitates... me.
(He activates the electromagnetism, lifting himself airborne. Then cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Huh. Anyway, M. Bison, whose face continues to melt away, tells Sagat that he must earn his respect.
M. Bison: You must defeat Ryu and regain the Street Fighter championship. You must destroy him!
Linkara: Uh... why?
Linkara (v/o): No, seriously, why? What the hell does a tournament have to do with anything here? And wouldn't he be kind of disqualified from this tournament if he should happen to "destroy him"? Sagat says he's tried to challenge him, but Ryu has refused another match.
M. Bison: Ryu is human.
Linkara: (deadpan) Gee, Bison, what would we ever do without your keen observational skills?
Linkara (v/o): Anyway, he says they can get to Ryu through his friends, like Chun-Li and Ken, who are fighters themselves, so... maybe you ought to rethink this strategy and consider, you know, GUNS! We cut to Ryu as he stalks Chun-Li, then attempts to strangle her from behind. Our hero, everybody! However, Chun-Li easily tosses him aside.
Ryu: So, woman... you reject... my affections?
Linkara: (as Ryu) I attempt to strangle you because I love you!
Linkara (v/o): Ryu unleashes a fireball at her, but Chun-Li is not impressed, taking it out with her own fireball. You know, for a series called Street Fighter, they use a lot of magical powers and have had intense training to utilize their skills. Usually, when I think of fighting on the streets, it's by guys with pocket knives, pistols and some basic brawler stuff, and even then, nothing particularly disciplined. Just a thought, and I know I keep getting off track, but a huge amount of this comic is fighting, and as I've said before, fight scenes are difficult to review, other than just straight-up summary.
Chun-Li: You dare call yourself a champion? You are weak, Ryu...
Ryu: "Weak?!" I take no insults from a mere woman!
Linkara: Our hero is sexist, too. I look forward to Sagat giving him a beatdown.
Linkara (v/o): For the moment, though, I'll settle for Chun-Li, who kicks him in the face!
Chun-Li: I am the strongest woman in the world! And mistress of the lightning kick!!
Linkara (v/o): Said lightning kick is made of... uh, green ectoplasm. That makes sense, I guess. The fight continues with Ryu getting smashed through a Buddha statue, once again trying to use "the awesome energy of the Chi", as he says, to defeat her. But she just keeps whaling on him until finally she just... uh, stops.
Chun-Li: Am I not the strongest woman in the world?
Ryu: Oooh... I guess so.
Chun-Li: And the most beautiful?
Linkara (v/o): Ooookay, where the hell did this come from? Also, apparently, she can just throw off those hair bun things and bam! She's in a L'Oreal commercial. She then makes out with him, but he tells her to stop.
Ryu: We agreed that we are together to train! You are more beautiful than ever, Chun-Li... but you have changed in the past few months.
Chun-Li: Changed? What do you mean?
Linkara: (as Ryu) Now you can kick my ass, and that's kind of a turn-off for an asshole like me.
Ryu: Once you were like this stream...laughing, flowing around life...
Linkara: Streams don't laugh.
Ryu: Now you are like this tree...
Linkara: (as Ryu) Infested with wood ticks.
Ryu: ...strong, flexible... but yet rooted in your obsession!
Linkara: So, trees keep their roots in the ground because they're upset...? I'm learning a lot today! Trees have OCD, streams like to giggle...
Ryu: Your quest against M. Bison has made you a different person.
Chun-Li: What?? Are you saying I'm unjustified? He murdered my father! I will have justice!
Linkara: (as Chun-Li) And together, we can be justice!
Ryu: You don't know that! You don't have evidence!
Linkara: Yeah! I mean, M. Bison sounds like such a trustworthy guy!
(Another clip of the Street Fighter movie is shown, showing M. Bison confronting Chun-Li (Ming-Na Wen))
M. Bison: For you, the day Bison graced your village was the most important day of your life. But for me... it was Tuesday.
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): Chun-Li says she's working on obtaining evidence by joining the Hong Kong police and that she works with Interpol now.
Ryu: What are you saying? You've abandoned the way of the warrior...for common police work?
Linkara: Once again, our hero: a strangling, sexist elitist who thinks police work is too (makes a "finger quote") "common".
Linkara (v/o): Chun-Li points out what a colossal dick Ryu is and walks off, leaving Ryu alone with his thoughts.
Ryu: (thinking) Chun-Li has grown strong, but has lost much of the joy I used to see in her.
Linkara: The hell are you talking about? She seemed pretty happy up until you said, "No making out."
Linkara (v/o): He thinks that Ken has changed most of all, losing interest in the tournament and becoming a celebrity.
Ken: (being interviewed) I'm getting ready to launch my own clothing line, and I'm shooting a movie this summer!
Linkara: (as Ken) We've already lined up Raul Julia and Jean-Claude Van Damme. Trust me, this is going to go down in history as the greatest movie ever.
Ryu: Goodbye, Ken!
Chun-Li: I think he has other things on his mind, Ryu!
Linkara: (as Ken, thinking while making driving motions) Hot damn, my hair looks great! I just hope this purple outfit doesn't make me look stupid.
Linkara (v/o): He then thinks some more backstory about how Chun-Li started drifting from him after she got word of her father's death.
Ryu: (thinking) Now I am the greatest warrior in the world, but I've never been more alone!
(Linkara is seen pretending to play a violin, while real violin music plays in the background)
Linkara (v/o): We cut to Ken as he records a commercial for a drink.
Ken: Dragon Punch!
(As Linkara speaks below, a shot of a can of Street Fighter Dragon Punch appears in the corner)
Linkara: Enjoy Dragon Punch Energy Drink, people! Yes, this exists.
Ken: When I'm done fighting, I refresh with Quickfresh!
(Cut to a clip of the infamous commercial for Summer's Eve, where one girl asks another...)
Girl: Do you ever feel, you know, not so fresh?
(Cut back to the comic)
Girl in commercial: Haha!
Boys in commercial: Like Ken, if I could be!
Linkara (v/o): Um, I'm sure that makes sense in somebody's language, but in English that does not. Ken's shoot ends, and he decides he'll finish up tomorrow. He thinks to himself how doesn't really need the money, but he has fun doing it, and it means he's independent from family money.
Ken: (thinking) Getting married was great, and I love her [Eliza] a lot... but sometimes I need a break. Like, right now!
Linkara (v/o): And as such, he heads to a nightclub where beautiful women hang off of him.
Ken: (thinking) Maybe I should just go home and have a carrot juice!
(Cut to a clip of an episode of Doctor Who, showing Melanie Bush giving some carrot juice to the Sixth Doctor)
The Doctor: Carrot juice?
(Back to the comic again)
Linkara (v/o): He heads out to an alleyway.
Ken: What a relief! Am I glad to be out of there!
Linkara: (as Ken, loudly) I'M GOING TO LOUDLY ANNOUNCE HOW I FEEL FOR NO PARTICULAR REASON!
Linkara (v/o): Also, didn't he go to the nightclub specifically to take a break? Why the hell is he suddenly relieved to be away from it? Anyway, he runs into Balrog in the alley, who wants to fight him. Ken refuses, since he's retired. Balrog insists, but Ken hits him so hard on the chin that his face goes completely in the wrong direction and blood splatters out at the wrong angle. Well, this is based on a fighting game, so physics aren't exactly going to be accurate. Balrog keeps getting up to fight him, even when Ken launches a fireball out and engulfs him in flames. Yeah, flames and third-degree burns can just be shrugged off. After a few more blows are exchanged, Balrog contorts his body in a ludicrous manner and uppercuts Ken so hard that it breaks the panel restrictions. I've got to say I actually like that touch. And this leads to... more fighting; another fireball, more boot to the head, more punches, and then... uh, suddenly it becomes the Adam West Batman series.
(Cut to a clip of an episode of that series, showing Batman and Robin climbing up a wall)
Batman (Adam West): I have the curious feeling this is all some kind of literary plot.
(Cut back to the comic)
Linkara (v/o): Some of Balrog's cronies show up with guns and open fire on Ken, allowing Balrog a chance to escape. They don't, of course, try to use their guns to persuade him to come along or anything. (laughs) No, that'd just be silly! And I guess they just go away off-panel, because the next page shows Ken walking away and thinking that he's exhausted because he hasn't been training as hard. And so, our comic ends with Sagat suddenly appearing behind him and being, like, eight feet tall.
Ken: SAGAT? What the hell is going on?!
Linkara: That's my question! At 24 pages, I don't think the plot ever actually got started. (closes comic and holds it up) This comic sucks... but it teeters on the edge.
Linkara (v/o): It fails in the art department big time, and the story moves at a snail's pace, preferring a lot of fight scenes over what the overall story of the comic is. However, the dialogue isn't too different from stuff I've read from the 1980s, although this was made in 1993, so maybe it's just a wee bit too stilted for people. Also, Ryu is an asshole, and if he's supposed to be the main character, he's not exactly a likeable one. I think we were supposed to dislike Ken for becoming a celebrity, but he doesn't come off as that much of a jerk, just a little lazy with his training. Chun-Li was pretty good, though.
Linkara: Overall, I don't think it's as bad as its reputation suggests. But then again, this is only the first issue. We'll look at the others somewhere down the line. (throws down comic, gets up and leaves)
(End credits roll, but suddenly, the screen fills with static and distorts before going black. The words "Time's up" appear. We then cut back to Linkara, who is sitting and looking at the old book from earlier. He then becomes shocked as he sees the following text displayed in the book: "I SEE YOU LINKARA". He sits there, stunned, and the screen goes black. Suddenly, however, it cuts back to Linkara again, still stunned, then becoming furious)
Linkara: OH, IT IS ON NOW! (snaps book shut)