Friday, March 23, 2007

ZANGIEF versus R. MIKA & SAKURA
(UDON comics)
Where:
Street Fighter Legends #2 When: September 2006
Why: Ken Siu-Chong & Double KO How: Omar Dogan

The story so far...
Martial arts fanatic and school girl, Sakura Kusanago, begins her journey to become a great martial artist after meeting Ryu, the nomadic street fighting legend who dethroned the king of Muay Thai -- Sagat.

Staying in touch, Sakura receives the advice from Ryu that to become the ultimate martial artist, she should be open to learning from various styles. Thus, Sakura begins a new quest to learn from various fighting champions.

Her quest takes her to the professional wrestling show in town, where she hopes to observe her favourite wrestler in action -- Rainbow Mika!
R. Mika defeats Zangief in the ring, but while signing autographs Sakura finds herself between Rainbow Mika and a challenge from the kayfabeless Zangief!

Previous Form:
R. Mika, Sakura, Zangief: None of the three Street Fighters have previously been featured on the site.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Zangief 4 (Steroid Popper)
Intelligence: Draw 2 (Average)
Speed: R. Mika 3 (Trained Athlete)
Stamina: Zangief 5 (Marathon)
Agility: R. Mika 3 (Acrobat)
Fighting Ability: Zangief 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Sakura 3 (Explosives)


Here we are again, running a little late, and revisiting the Street Fighter scene!
Which really, if you think about it, plays straight into this little section we like to refer to as The Tape.

Zangief is a big ol' Russian who bares scars from fighting polar bears.
He's a legit pro wrestler. Now, if your laughter has subsided, and you're able to stop for a moment to ponder the nature of the grappling system, you'll observe one major a thing -- neck injuries. Seriously, even the pros suffer life altering injuries, and they aren't even playing for keeps.

So, a seven foot tall Russian who fights bears is probably going to be a seriously problem. He's got reach on his side, and while slower than your average Street Fighter, he's still pretty fast considering the bulk of his muscle.

Keys to victory here come down to the numbers game.
If R. Mika and Sakura can double team the big man, then you're starting to calculate a pretty basic win. If he can eliminate and isolate, then it comes down to individual skills.

Both Sakura and Mika have Zangief pegged on the speed and agility front, but neither is as technically proficient with their respective fighting styles, including Mika's brand of high flying/butt pumping wrestling.
So it's got to be about getting in and out, using the speed to the avantage to take out Zangief. But that's probably much easier said, than done.

The Math: R. Mika & Sakura (Total) Zangief (Average)
The Pick: Zangief (Champion Class)

What went down...
Having delivered his rematch challenge at the end of last issue, Zangief wastes little time highlighting the severity of his intent -- launching a flying body press attack at the relatively diminutive opponents.

R. Mika and Sakura leap clear of danger either side, leaving Zangief to land flat on his face.

Mika jumps on the Balkan behemoth, surprised to be joined by Sakura, who imitates her daydream headlock. An off-the-cuff remark about becoming a tag team becomes a reality as the two drive Zangief's head into the ground.

Zangief shrugs the attack off, and to Rainbow Mika's shock he's "wrestling for real". Sakura shoves her idol out of the way to take a diving dropkick.

Rainbow Mika comes to the rescue of Sakura with a moonsault, but it has little effect on Zangief.
He swats Mika off his back, hurtling her into the air.

R. Mika recovers, but sets herself up to suffer at the hands of Zangief's spinning clothesline of the man dubbed the Red Cyclone! Then, with Mika reeling, he intends to follow up with the banishing flat, but... His grip misses.

In an issue full of shots of Rainbow Mika's butt and boobs, this remains a blatant ploy to lure hits from horny fanboys...Yeah... He grabs her arse.
Now, fair enough, it was an accident. He actually meant to finish her off with a deadly finishing move, but... Yeah. He's gonna get it now, chief.

In a rage, Mika throws herself at her rival for a rainbow hip crush, switching her butt from plush, curvy plamed fun -- to deadly weapon of pain!

With Zangief reeling, Rainbow Mika calls in the assist from her fan, referencing the finish to a match from earlier in her career.
Sakura, knowing the reference, slips behind on all fours behind the hulking Zangief, to finish him off with a crescent kick/trip combo.

Only, even though he goes down hard... He gets back up.

Rainbow Mika switches things up for some hardcore rules, spraying the Russian with a fire extinguisher. She taunts him as he stumbles around trying to put his big mits on his foe, and at that crucial moment Dan, seeking to train Sakura, stumbles in.

With the extinguisher foam cleared from his eyes, Zangief doesn't get to see what's coming as Rainbow Mika sneaks behind with a Wingless Airplane reverse head scissors. Leaving him wide open to a juggle combo shouoken attack!

Zangief goes down for good, unable to dispute the defeat this time.
And much to the chagrin of Karin Kanzuki, who happens to be watching TV at the time, Sakura becomes a star!

The hammer...
The winners of this bout, Sakura and Rainbow Mika!

We've got a lot of new people joining us every day, and some of you might be surprised to stumble across Street Fighter on a website mostly dedicated to Marvel and DC superheroes. Fair enough!

My gross slant toward Marvel (and DC) withstanding, this site is actually really just directed toward comic book and comic book related battles, as a vehicle to discuss and document those products. So, be fully aware that Street Fighter animated movies are just sitting in waiting.

I'm a big fan of the work UDON are doing with the Street Fighter books!
If you haven't been reading, you might like to slide back to one of our previous Top Rating Reads. [Street Fighter II #2]

That said, there's a distinct problem I think I'm finding with the Street Fighter franchise, and it actually has nothing to do with the slow release schedule.
I'm a fan of various beat 'em up video games, and like many-a fanboy who insists they're a "writer", the characters in these kinds of games have mooshed around in my head and I've come up with some ideas for story.

What seems lacking in Ken Siu-Chong's stories is a sense of purpose.
For me, because the games so often offer minimal information, I look at the potential of taking everything provided and building it up to a story. Which is what's being done to a degree, but what concerns me is just how unfocused it all seems. I say this having picked up another issue or two of the main book as well, and not just the Legends: Sakura mini-series.

There's clearly a familiarity with the franchise, and UDON seems to be very keen on servicing that, but it as a story it just lacks the kind of density and sense of purpose that I would much prefer. I hate to go down that line, but it really feels like a series that's being written by a penciller.

My writing career suffers a SHAOUOKEN!As a guy who's brimming over with projects but is struggling to get work printed because he needs collaborators, it's probably not a great opinion to hold. But, in all honesty, there are a lot of pencillers who maybe think they supercede writers, but without them... Yeah...

This isn't a book that's suffering a hard crunch, but my attentions certainly have the potential to wander if it doesn't pick up a thread and go with it. That said, if you're a Street Fighter fan and are looking for a fun read, this isn't a bad issue at all. I'm just projecting my concern for the future, as I see the book very loosely tying threads together.
As a fan, I'd like a more complete picture, and it's not casting that net.

Buy it anyway. It's not like you're going to get a Street Fighter 4! *sniff*

So, anyway! I mentioned last Friday [New Avengers #27] that it was International Woman's Day, and we're sort of continuing the theme here with the two girls scoring the victory over Zangief. That theme will continue through next Friday as I pull out a recent tale I've been hoping to have reason to use!

I'm very tired, it's a very late update again.
I've noticed the hits are waning, spread the word folks so that I may have new victims upon which to leech energy. Until they, see you Monday!

The Fight: 4 The Issue: 4.5

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

GET A LIFE

Mike Haseloff said...

Yeah... You're from Jersey, right? I guess I can see how you got confused there... Good luck with your comment post, though.

Anonymous said...

What the fuck is this? Zangief could NEVER lose to Mika OR Sakura, who are always bottom tier at best when compared to Zang who is mid/high.

Hes the best grappler from any of the SF games and to top that all off, some dipshit writes him into a loss against possibly the second worst wrestler of all time?

Who wrote this? WHO ALLOWED THIS TO BE PRINTED?

Mike Haseloff said...

@Anonymous: Fair point.

At the same time, I wouldn't like to think a plot-driven medium, (no matter how thin the plot might be), would be commanded exclusively by a gaming tier list.

Another time, in another comic, I'm sure he would've won. Maybe this time it was just a bad Zangief player coming up a really strong Mika (with an annoying Sakura player providing distractions).

Zangief is zero from four on the Infinite Wars, though. So be sure to spread your outrage beyond Ken Siu-Chong, UDON's lead SF writer.

Cheers!

Anonymous said...

Tiers or not, zangief is too bad ass to get his ass kicked by those 2 moronic-not-very-lady-like-if-you-know-what-i-mean-girls.