COVER TO COVER: SOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING IV!
I'm pretty sure this is where I'd usually type a quick soft-entry into the subject at hand, but let's face it: you don't need to be informed! You'd have to have been plucked from another time period to be oblivious to the Street Fighter revolution, and even then, if you were from any point in the nineties, you'd probably have anticipated the 'unlikely' return of the brand, anyway!
Ken, Chun-Li, Sagat, Bison, and all the old gang are back! Reuniting in a brand new instalment that brings them back to their roots, the world warriors have conquered and reignited competition in the arcades, and are now bringing the fight home in February on PS3 and Xbox 306!
Okay, okay. There's a chance you might have missed out on the specifics of a new core entry into the series, but even if you aren't "savvy" enough to have encountered the downloadable UDON re-release of the classic fighter; Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix; you will know about either the UDON comic series often discussed here on the site, or the upcoming Kristen Kreuk feature-film, Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li!
While it might be Chun-Li who has the (mis) fortune of starring in her own live-action film; the journey of iconic protagonist, Ryu, continues! Today we have a selection of stories previously observed on the Infinite Wars, each contributing a vital piece to the puzzle of the wandering world warrior! Throughout the differing interpretations, his story is one of self-reflection and philosophy, a tale of a supreme fighter whose very nature is potentially his greatest downfall.
Street Fighter II #1 (July 1994)
"Battle 02: Little Las Vegas" Masaomi Kanzaki
Super cool wandering warrior, Ryu, has found his way to the man-made manhattan of the island, Shad.
While looking for a decent meal, he runs afoul gangsters who have been plaguing a small family owned restaurant for insurance money.
Ever the hero, Ryu comes to the aid of the sexy store manager, but not before incurring the wrath of the gang boss -- former boxing champion, Balrog!
Ryu offers Po-Lin and her little brother Wong-Mei a chance to free themselves of debt if they bet money on him to win the fight. But does Ryu have what it takes to win?
Street Fighter Alpha (1999)
"The Tournament Begins" Yamauchi/Yoshida
Having returned to Japan for a major street fighting tournament; Ken Masters, wealthy United States champion, reunites with his fighting rival and best friend, Ryu. Together they mourn the death of their master, Gouken, and together face the threat of the dark hadou energy that threatens Ryu.
In an effort to curb the dark energy rising in Ryu, he limits all fighting activity, opting only to accompany Ken to the tournament, along with a young Brazilian orphan claiming to be Ryu's half-brother.
Though Ken would ultimately be side-tracked and miss registration, the young Brazilian boy, Shun, would go on to enter and pitted against overwhelming odds. Emerging from the opposition cage the Russian man-mountain: Zangief!
Street Fighter #1 (September 2003)
"Two Years Ago..." Siu-Chong/Madureira
It was one of the greatest battles in Street Fighter history, and changed the course of many lives in an instant!
Watch as Ryu gains his legendary victory over the mountainous muscle of the King of Muay Thai -- Sagat!
It is a victory that will forge one of the strongest rivalries in Street Fighter lore, and bring Ryu's fighting potential to the attentions of the man secretly behind this first street fighting tournament: The lord of Shadaloo -- M. Bison!
Check out Joe Madureira's return to American comics as he details his own version of this milestone moment in delicious detail! PLUS: Chest scar origin!
Street Fighter II #1 (November 2005)
Some might say it is here that the Street Fighter legend begins. Though the truth was remained a mystery to gamers for years, here we see the brutal reveal of the death of Ken and Ryu's legendary master - Gouken!
Displaying the terrifying potential of the dark hadou Gouken's own brother is swallowed up by his own murderous intent, turning the ancient ansatsuken style to it's most vicious technique -- shun goku satsu!
It's the aftermath of this very scene that will prompt Ken and Ryu to enter the Street Fighting world and seek out their master's killer, who is not the vile Bison, but rather the legendary disgraced warrior: Akuma!
Street Fighter Alpha Vol.1 (April 2007)
"Round. 5" Masahiko Nakahira
For practitioners of an unnamed ansatsuken fighting style, mastery brings great power through the focused energies of ki through practise of hadou. Wielded by a skilled warrior, the hadou can be channelled into fireball projectiles and devestating ki-sponsored attacks, but these powers do not come without risk.
After defeating legendary Muay Thai fighter, Sagat; Ryu struggles with the inner darkness that was unleashed when he delivered the shoryuken that toppled his opponent, and scarred Sagat forever.
Having been taken over by the evil intent of the dark hadou once before; Ryu reluctantly agrees to accompany Interpol agent, Chun-Li, in attempting to uncover the recruitment of underground martial artists by a villainous organized criminal empired called Shadaloo!
Unbenknownst to Ryu, other forces have a stake in his fated confrontation with darkness and the villain called Bison. Watching from afar is Rose, whose tarot predicts an uncertain destiny for the Japanese martial artist.