Street Fighter x G.I. Joe #1
By Aubrey Sitterson, Emilio Laiso & David Garcia Cruz
When this title was announced, you would be forgiven for being hesitant. Crossover events tend to be unfulfilling and lose sight of what makes the franchises or characters so popular to begin with (case and point: Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). However, the merging of these two worlds does have the potential to make more sense than most crossover stories; the military and combat does factor into both properties and the primary antagonists for both is a shadowy organization.
Writer Aubrey Sitterson throws readers into the thick of the narrative, foregoing a ton of exposition as to how Street Fighter and G.I. Joe fit into the same universe. He just expects readers to accept this premise at face value and lets the story depicted on the page show how well it all works together and shockingly, it does. M. Bison of Shadaloo and Destro of Cobra have joined forces to host a World Tournament. All participants have their own reasons for being there, but the villainous forces at work require the fighters to give their all in combat to fuel their own dastardly plans. Honestly, it sounds almost exactly like Babidi’s plot to resurrect Majin Buu in Dragon Ball Z. Hopefully, the plot of this mini-series will differentiate itself with other more original elements and devices.
Sitterson makes it clear how aware and passionate he is for fighting/martial arts tales in his closing letter. It’s very apparent throughout the issue that research was done on both franchises, such as setting the tournament in M. Bison’s Mriganka or Rufus bragging about beating Ken. He even went as far as writing synopses of the preliminary rounds to satisfy readers who didn’t have their favorite character put into the main storyline. No doubt Aubrey’s effort and work should be applauded, but the actual story falls short. Again, this is just a sad byproduct of crossovers; the story becomes a bit of a greatest hits or just fan service, so the plot becomes secondary and the dialogue and interaction between characters is generic. Also, the fights are extremely short to pack in as much action as possible. What makes good action narratives so compelling is that the fights take the time to really show who the character is through their fighting style – speaking with their fists. One or two fights are how this material should have been handled. The best of intentions doesn’t always translate to quality work.
Emilio Laiso does his best to capture the kinetic nature of the material, enhanced with the palette of color artist David Garcia Cruz. Laiso is able to render the fighting moves of the Street Fighter characters, but it just doesn’t have that je ne sais quoi that perfectly nails the iconic motions. Cruz matches the color for the special moves as well, which helps, but it can’t save every panel. The passage of time depicted during the fight sequences via the layouts is fairly standard in comparison to similar comics. Other readers may feel differently about this artist duo, but they just didn’t catch my eye this time around. A shout out is necessary to letterer Robbie Robbins for using the Street Fighter font for when each fight begins and ends…very nice touch!
All-in-all this is a fairly entertaining, leisurely comic. Readers should not go in expecting anything truly transcendent, but if you like a fight-centric comic or are a fan of either franchise this title is worth checking out. This initial issue is better than most of IDW’s crossover debuts. What Street Fighter x G.I. Joe #1 ultimately boils down to is that it is not terrible, but not great either.