Gary Collinson reviews Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #1…
On a hidden island in international waters, 16 combatants enter a secret tournament… one that pits Street Fighter vs. G.I. JOE! M. Bison and Destro have joined forces, and taking them down will require the world’s finest warriors: Ryu, Snake Eyes, Guile, Scarlett, Chun-Li and Duke.
For IDW’s latest franchise mash-up, the publisher has brought together the World Warriors of Street Fighter and the Real American Heroes (and Villains) of G.I. Joe for the five-part Street Fighter X G.I. Joe from writer Aubrey Sitterson, artist Emilio Laiso and colorist David Garcia Cruz, who waste no time in throwing us right into the middle of the action today with the release of the first issue.
The plot, as it should be here, is straightforward: M. Bison, ruthless leader of the Shadaloo crime syndicate, is hosting the World Warrior Tournament, which Destro’s M.A.R.S. Industries is sponsoring (of course Destro has ulterior motives, and is also working with Bison to power a mystery superweapon). Naturally this has brought members of G.I. Joe into the fray, and we pick things up here at the eighth-finals stage as sixteen competitors remain.
This issue covers the first four bouts from the round of sixteen, and features Crimson Viper vs. Snake Eyes, Rufus vs. The Baroness, Hakan vs. Roadblock, and Ryu vs. Jinx. As you’d expect, it’s an action-packed issue and moves at a blistering pace as we go from one fight to the next, with a little story and set-up thrown in between each bout.
The structure works very well, with each battle offering some nice characterisation, as well as featuring all the signature moves you’d expect to see. The artwork from Laiso and Cruz is also very nice, and manages to capture the look and feel of Street Fighter matches effectively, along with the classic Real American Heroes designs for the G.I. Joe characters.
As Sitterson notes in his afterword, with only sixteen combatants featuring in the tournament, it’s highly likely that some of your favourite characters will be absent. That was the case for me. As an old school Street Fighter fan, I’d have liked to see more characters from Street Fighter II, but that’s a personal preference and I can completely understand the need to feature a wider mix of characters from the video game series’ history.
I was also a little disappointed at one of the results, which has put the block on what I’d assume to be the obvious dream match-up if you’re bringing G.I. Joe and Street Fighter together. That being said, it seems like the losing character in question may still have a big role to play as the story unfolds, and I’m definitely excited to see how it all pans out over the remainder of the series.
The eleven-year-old me would have absolutely loved Street Fighter X G.I. Joe #1, given that it is packed with action from start to finish, and brings together characters from my favourite video game of all time with my favourite 80s comic book/cartoon/toy line (and not for the first time either, as Hasbro released a series of Street Fighter II figures as part of the G.I. Joe line in the early 90s, along with characters from Street Fighter: The Movie). The mid-thirties me found it to be an enjoyable issue and a solid opener for what should be a fun series for fans of both franchises.
Gary Collinson is a writer and lecturer from the North East of England. He is the editor-in-chief of FlickeringMyth.com and the author of Holy Franchise, Batman! Bringing the Caped Crusader to the Screen.