Street Fighter Alpha Review

I’m sure that we’re all familiar with the Street Fighter video games at this point. I only own Street Fighter IV and Street Fighter X Tekken, but the franchise is so popular that I’m still familiar with several of the characters. Its great to see that Street Fighter got a manga and it’s safe to say that I had some decently high hopes heading in.

The series is only two volumes so they couldn’t really fit everyone in, but that’s all right. Two volumes is better than one and while I do wish that all series could be over 20 volumes; it won’t affect the score. That would be pretty unfair to short, but epic franchises like Zombie Powder and Megaman ZX. There is still a decent amount of plot and the series is very fast paced.

One of the many positives of Street Fighter Alpha is the fact that the story is fast paced, but the author also knows when it’s time for a long fight. Bison vs Rose and Ryu takes up most of the second volume and it’s a great fight. Length is important and it’s one area that Marvel and DC continue to struggle in. I don’t want to see a fight that only lasts for two pages before the rest occurs off screen. I want to see some serious DBZ action and Street Fighter delivers.

One of the reasons why the delivery goes smoothly is thanks to the art. The art is the classic 90′s style so everyone looks pretty tough. The fight scenes are great and you feel the power behind each blow. It’s hard to describe why the 90′s had such awesome art and you really need to view it firsthand to appreciate how well done the drawings are.

The plot involves Ryu, the hero of Street Fighter, as he is not really a fighter anymore. He’s basically a bodyguard for hire at this point and he’s worried about how the Dark Hado may take control of him someday. We don’t get to see all of his previous history first hand, but he mentions his tough fight against Sagat and how it changed him. Ryu isn’t the happy go lucky guy that he used to be.

Unfortunately, the Dark Hado consumes Ryu once again and he’s forced to take on Chun Li and his other friends. Ken is not frightened by the darkness and he still loves to fight. Ken wants Ryu to accept this as well, but will Ryu comply? Meanwhile, the true threat behind the curtains is Bison and wide spread devastation will occur if he is not stopped. Ryu will have to put on his fighting gloves once more and take on this strong opponent as well as shutting down an underground fighting arena. It’s going to be a tough day for this fighter!

Ryu is a good main character. He’s definitely not as cheerful as I had imagined him to be, but I’m sure that it’s temporary. By the end of the series, Ryu is already showing signs of his old self. Ryu’s dark form is pretty fierce and he’s much stronger than his normal form. Ryu doesn’t look very impressive without the dark powers, but he’s still strong enough to defeat most opponents. He’s just not at the high level that other fighters like Bison and Akuma have reached. Naturally, Ryu will likely possess incredible powers once he masters the dark powers and merges them with his natural abilities.
Ken is one of the bigger supporting characters, but he doesn’t get a lot of action. His big moment is when he has a big confrontation with Ryu. The manga portrays Ryu and Ken as being similar in power and I’m okay with that, but I’m glad that they weren’t dead even. Ryu’s accelerated healing and dark hado powers should definitely give him the edge. Even without those two factors in Ryu’s favor; I would still pick him in a fight. Ken’s heroic, if not a little generic, but he’s a good character as well. He’s not the type of guy that would come close to being my favorite hero, but he’s a good supporting fighter.

Chun Li is pretty high tier as far as cops go, but she’s definitely not as powerful as Ryu or Ken. Her energy blasts seem to be decently powerful and she does know martial arts, but she’s not a master at this point. She’s a good character and she proves it when she goes into the ring to save Cammy. Unfortunately, Chun Li misses most of the climax, but maybe we’ll see her more in a future series.

Guy is definitely the best hero of the series and everything about him is awesome. The manga hints that he could take down Bison and he makes short work of Ryu during their fight. (It should be noted that Ryu was using his dark powers) Guy is definitely a master at hand to hand combat and he doesn’t mind letting his opponent know how the battle is going to end. He gets a pretty small role, but I definitely would have liked to see him appear more. Akuma may have met his match against this fighter!

Cammy is more like an android in this series. Not literally, but she doesn’t have much emotion due to circumstances. She’ll likely learn the values of teamwork and friendship at some point, but she’s still a good character. She does pretty well in her first match, but she definitely lacks experience and she’s not one of the strongest fighters in the ring.

Birdie was all right I suppose. I was really wondering why he was here the whole time. He uses a gun….which isn’t awful, but that’s not going to cut it in Street Fighter world. (Even counting the fact that a pair of bullets nearly took out Ryu) I didn’t recognize him from the games so I just figured that he was made up for the manga. He could have been worse, but I never found him that likable. A decent power boost or fight scene could change that.

Rose is a mysterious character that pops up from time to time. She seems to be on the side of justice or maybe she just wants to defeat Bison. Either way, she’s a pretty fierce fighter and a good character as well. Her paralysis was strong enough to keep Ryu pinned down for a while and she gave Bison a decent fight. The victor was never really in doubt, but Rose was still able to put up a fight. Sakura also gets a small role, but she doesn’t look very impressive. Her heart is in the right place, but she simply doesn’t have the abilities to win the tough fights. She’s too young at this point and Bison takes her down pretty quickly. Sakura actually makes the situation a little dicey for Ryu because of this.

Bison is the big villain in the series and he’s definitely powerful. As mentioned earlier, his fights are quite long and he’s likely in the top 5 strongest characters of the franchise. He’s a solid villain and he can back up his bragging with action. The other villains look pretty bad in comparison since we only got some minor guys like Vega and Adon. Vega doesn’t have his signature mask and he looks downright weak. (Although he was fighting a high tier fighter) Adon just seems petty and not the kind of villain that I could really respect. He underestimated the Dark Hado. Bison definitely makes these guys look bad by being so cool and even his design puts theirs to shame.

Akuma is easily one of the best characters in the series. He only appears for an instant, but it’s an awesome appearance. Ken acknowledges Akuma’s incredible power and they hint that he could have easily defeated Bison. Unfortunately for the heroes, Bison is below someone like Akuma and the latter does not want to bother fighting him. Akuma does want to challenge Ryu and that should be a quick match. Ryu doesn’t seem to be on the same level as of yet, but a little training can go a long way.
Overall, this was a pretty fun manga. I’d like to see Tekken or Virtua Fighter top this series. The series was definitely short, but we got some great fights, a good cast of characters, and a good plot. You don’t really need much else to be a good manga. The series does end on a pretty epic cliffhanger and you’ll want to make your guesses on who will ultimately win the fight. I recommend this manga to anyone that likes some solid action scenes!

Overall 7/10

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Batman vs Carnage

Carnage is a powerful Spiderman villain and he even had the courage to go up against Deadpool recently! Courage is great, but you also need power if you really want to defeat someone as resourceful as Batman. Batman has his GL Power Ring at the ready and one good energy blast should take the fight out of Carnage. Carnage is strong, but he’s just not in Batman’s league. Batman wins.

Little Mac vs Sonic

Sonic Mac
Little Mac is a skilled boxer, but he won’t be able to take Sonic down. Little Mac knows firsthand how important speed is when you’re inside the ring and that’s why Sonic has the edge. Little Mac may be a master at throwing a solid right hook, but Sonic will just dodge and land a few hundred punches in that one instant. Little Mac is going to have to take a loss this time. Sonic wins.

Scorpion vs Batman

Scorpion is a Spiderman villain that is technically impressive as far as strength goes. Unfortunately, he’s usually portrayed as a D rank opponent and that’s what he would be to Batman. Batman is far more experienced than the Scorpion and that’s how he will win. Batman will quickly overwhelm him with brains over brawn! Batman wins.

Mecha Godzilla 2 vs Chunk

Mecha Godzilla 2 has an impressive arsenal at his disposal, but will it be enough to stop The Chunk? The Chunk has taken on the Flash in the past and he doesn’t let any of his opponents faze him. No matter how many times he is defeated, The Chunk will never back down. He will continue to meet his opponents with dignity. Mecha Godzilla 2 wins.

Batman vs Kingpin

Batman is back and now he’s up against Kingpin. I liked Kingpin back in the classic era of Spiderman, but he’s typically not a very interesting villain. That being said, I don’t believe that he would do well against Batman. Batman’s far too quick and one good gadget should take Kingpin down for the count. Batman wins.

Star Wars Volume 1 In the Shadow of Yavin Review

Star Wars is easily one of the biggest franchises out there and I finally got around to watching the six live action films pretty recently. (Naturally I saw the animated one years ago) It was a pleasant surprise to see the main cast back in action and Dark (Darth may be his name, but I grew up calling him Dark Vader and the name stuck) Vader is impressive as you would expect from the original trilogy. This series is off to a solid start and I always like to see expansions from the main story.

There are several plots happening at the same time in this collection. Princess Leia is told that the rebels have been infiltrated by a spy and the heroes continue to be ambushed by the Federation. In response to this, Leia handpicks a small team of comrades that she can trust so that they can work securely in their task to find a new planet for the Rebels base. Unfortunately, her team isn’t the greatest and Luke definitely isn’t helping matters. The Rebels may be at the end of their rope!

Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewy were trying to make a deal for the Rebels, but it turns out that the seller was a traitor! Han takes him out, but the two of them are badly outnumbered. Will they really be able to get through this in one piece or are they doomed!? Meanwhile, we also get to see Dark Vader be reassigned and his replacement may turn out to be a big threat!

Luke Skywalker does not look very good in this comic. He allows Prithi to distract him far too much and he abandons protocol. I’m all for abandoning protocol if needed, but he just did it so that he could disintegrate as a character. By association, I also do not like Prithi in this comic. Did she join to fight or flirt? Both of them were definitely irresponsible and it would have been nice if Leia had kicked them off the team. The trend of disliking Luke Skywalker whenever he appears continues…

Princess Leia is much better as she actually gets to fight and she never jeopardizes the mission. She is definitely a little on the shady side since she’s willing to do whatever it takes in order to secure the win against the Republic. She does manage to defeat an alien during a one on one battle, which was pretty cool. Unfortunately, her security protocols were not tight enough and the traitor continues to gain ground. She’s going to be out of the picture for a while and we’ll see how that affects volume 2!

Dark Vader is easily the best character in the comic. This is how he was meant to be portrayed! I would have liked for him to take out the Emperor, but the author can’t go that far since it would completely destroy the continuity. Aside from that inconvenience, Dark Vader definitely makes his presence known. Not only does he take out the opponent who tried to defy him, but he also gets an epic minicomic at the end that shows why he’s so great. Dark Vader is a villain that others to aspire to be like.

I give Han Solo credit for the fact that he’s always ready with a pun or a wisecrack. While I will never be able to seriously believe that someone will still be cracking jokes in the face of certain death; it’s still fun to see. Solo may forever regret that he couldn’t grab the wine, but at least he escaped. It’s easy to root for Han in this collection. Chewy obviously gets some great lines, but we’ll never know what they were. Chewy panics a lot more than Han Solo and he seems inexperienced in comparison, but he’s still a nice ally to have around. His appearances just aren’t the same without his trademark roar.

Colonel Bircher is one of the new villains for this collection and it seems like he will be a recurring villain in the series. I definitely don’t mind since he’s a pretty good opponent for the heroes. He may not wield The Force, but he is a master tactician. If his men had only listened to him, they may have made it through this situation in one piece. Bircher is a serious army veteran and he’s the type of character that you can root for in a fight. His armor is also pretty cool looking.

Wedge gets a lot of hype since he may be the best pilot that the Rebels have. Since I do not recognize the name, I’m definitely suspicious of his motives. If anyone’s the traitor…it would make sense that its him. He’s about as shady as a person can get, but that’s just because of the plot. Otherwise, he’s actually a pretty likable character. If he manages to stay as a hero, then he’s definitely up there with the high tier Star Wars characters. He can’t use the Force…but you can’t win them all.

The art is pretty good for the comic. I wouldn’t say that it’s amazing, but most of the character designs are spot on and the lightsabers still look really cool. Things may get a little dicey when the characters are in their spacesuits and I think that the artist may need to work on that. That’s my only gripe with the art and the rest is definitely solid enough to help make the collection fun.

Overall, this series is off to a great start. It’s pretty modern and volume two isn’t even out yet so this series may last until the film comes out. I can’t wait to see Bircher take down Luke Skywalker and I want to see if I’m right about Wedge being the traitor. None of the plots have ended yet and if they go the Transformers route, we’ll have even more subplots in the next volume. I recommend this to all Star Wars fans and even if you’ve never heard of the franchise (……it could happen) you would still enjoy this comic. It’s a fun space adventure and I’m hoping that Guardians of the Galaxy will use this style for the film.

Overall 7/10

Diddy Kong vs Yoshi

Yoshi and Diddy
Diddy Kong is back once again, but he’s up against Super Yoshi! Yoshi has always been one of the better Mario characters when it comes to eating and he’s also pretty good in a fight. Diddy Kong has his banana barrels, but Yoshi can shoot giant fireballs that would quickly take him down for the count. Yoshi wins.

Daredevil vs Batman

Daredevil is a pretty good hand to hand fighter and while he may not be as good as Captain America; he can hold his own in a fight. Unfortunately for the man without fear, Batman is far too experienced to lose this round. He could win in a hand to hand fight or Batman could just throw one of his batarangs and quickly end things. Batman wins.