Street Fighter Classic, Volume 2: Cannon StrikeUdon’s Street Fighter Classic series continues the loose plot threads that were established in book one with some bonus shorts peppered in. If you missed book one, Hadoken, you will quickly get up to speed because the cast is fairly one-dimensional—the heroes are practicing their personal martial arts styles in peace and the villains are either trying to take over the world or working for someone who is.

There are two reasons people would read the Street Fighter comics: they either played the videogames to the point of wanting to know the cast better, or they want to sample some of the various artists featured in each chapter. The writing sure isn’t the draw. Lines like “I loved him, you murdering bitch!!!” and “Get up, bitch! I didn’t hear no bell,” while being rare examples of swearing in the book, also sound like the sort of shortcuts into violence the book uses to get the main events going.

The book works best as a sort of thematic anthology of fan art, with elaborate cover art for each chapter and a wide assortment of art and coloring styles showing off many different moods of Street Fighter. The contrast between Chris Stevens’s bloom-lit anime style, Skottie Young’s Cartoon Network-worthy figures, and Sven’s muted colors means the art never gets stale. Throughout the nineteen chapters different “world warriors” from the Street Fighter video games are matched against each other with character-specific special moves unleashed in dramatic splash pages worthy of Saturday morning cartoons in-between personal revelations worthy of afternoon soap operas. Cammy is the un-brainwashed test tube soldier of M. Bison; Ryu is still trying to find a balance between his lethal skills and moral standards; Ken is attacked at his wedding rehearsal dinner by Balrog, the professional boxer, and Vega, the claw-wielding matador; Guile is making strides toward maintaining a tenuous connection with his daughter.

Also of note: Ryu’s sweep kick is invaluable against Balrog’s fists-heavy assaults; Vega’s kicks are weak compared to his claw; Cammy resembles the villainous Decapre, but only because they were both born from Bison’s DNA samples to become part of a killer all-women team of soldiers. Just as in book one, the video game’s strategies and lore are reflected in the story beats and techniques of the comics, for better or for worse. If you know anyone who can explain the difference between a hadoken and shoryuken, consider passing this book their way.

Street Fighter Classic: Cannon Strike, vol. 2
by Ken Siu-Chong
Art by Alvin Lee, Arnold Tsang, Omr Dogan, Scott Hepburn, Eric Vedder, Andrew Hou, Crystal Reid, Adam Warren, Ale Garza, Skottie Young, Keron Grant, Andy Seto, Chris Stevens, Mark Lee, SVEN, Danimation
ISBN: 9781926778846
Udon, 2013
Publisher Age Rating: N/A

  • Thomas

    | He/Him Teen Services Librarian, Richland Library

    Features Writer

    Thomas is a teen services librarian at Richland Library in Columbia, South Carolina. While studying for his MLIS at the University of South Carolina, he won an award from Thomas Cooper Library for his curation of the works of “God of Manga” Osamu Tezuka. He has spoken about manga, graphic novels, teen programming, and podcasting at NashiCon, DragonCon, ColaCon, New York Comic Con, and American Library Association conferences. He has been on on YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels For Teens selection committee, written articles for Public Libraries, The Hub, Book Riot, and Library Trends, and reviews for School Library Journal and Kirkus.

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