Monday, August 03, 2009

Hero of the Week #10: Ryu

RYU (Capcom)
Real Name: Ryu
First Appearance: Street Fighter (August, 1987)
Group Affiliation: Gouken Dojo
Gaming Credentials: Street Fighter (1987); Street Fighter II (1991); Super Street Fighter II (1994); Street Fighter: The Movie (1995); Street Fighter Alpha (1996); X-Men vs Street Fighter (1996); Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo (1996); Pocket Fighter (1997); Street Fighter Alpha 3 (1998); Street Fighter III: Third Strike (1999); Street Fighter EX3 (2000); Capcom vs SNK 2 (2001); Marvel vs Capcom 2 (2002); Capcom Fighting Evolution (2004); Namco x Capcom (2005); Street Fighter IV (2009); Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix (2009); Tatsunoko vs Capcom (2009)
Infinite Wars Cumulative Ranking: #18

Not to start things off on a wild tangent, but a string of bad techno-karma has seen my electro-house of cards come tumbling down around me. A couple of weeks ago it was my scanner, then it was the proverbial shatting of my ancient PC (now resurrected), and most recently, the death of the nucleus of my blogging, my now powerless laptop. Gotta love technology, eh?

Fortunately, a few weeks later, my precariously balanced network of technology has been successfully resurrected in much the same way as the Street Fighter franchise!

Season '08/'09 has been very good to Capcom's definitive fighting franchise!
SF relaunched on the back of the now widely acclaimed modern sequel, Street Fighter IV, and piggybacked a 2D retro revival of mid-nineties classic, Super Street Fighter II, repackaged with all new sprite artwork handdrawn by comics art studio UDON, as the downloadable Turbo HD Remix!

The dominance of the brand continues with the long awaited digital release of fan-favourite mash-up, Capcom vs Marvel 2!
One of the most hyper-active releases in Capcom's catalogue; the game smashes an eclectic roster of heroes from their properties, up against heroes and villains of the Marvel Comics universe, source over a string of licensed games starting with X-Men: Children of the Atom!

Front-and-centre, as you'd expect, is Street Fighter's franchise hero from day-one, Ryu!
Business for the martial arts nomad (and wielder of the hadou ki) has been busier than ever, despite being overlooked for the illfated cinematic venture for the series [Legends of Chun-Li]. Starring in two new [game] releases and two significant revamps has been but the tip of the iceberg, an interactive platform upon which narrative exercises have been undertaken in comics.

UDON -- yes, the ones behind HD Remix -- have been working with the Street Fighter comics license for the last half of the decade, and after all this time they're about to embark on a journey into the most significant structural moment in the game's canon -- the Street Fighter II tournament!

The narrative direction of the line of comics -- all written by Ken Siu-Chong -- have struggled to build a convincing sense of the Street Fighter story. As an art studio-cum-publisher; their greatest strength remains their unquestionable ability to capture the energy and style of the games, and original Japanese crossmedia productions, through artistic competence and fan service.

Their version of the story has meandered through various maxi and mini series, leading them from the original Street Fighter series published by Image Comics, to the current Street Fighter II Turbo incarnation, which will officially launch the SFII tournament in issue #8. It continues on from the stories told in the previous series, Street Fighter II, which established the pending rematch between Ryu and his Muay Thai rival, Sagat, and the lurking presence of Akuma, who also awaits a destined clash with the Japanese fighter.

The cumulative influence of the year's gaming releases, the upcoming UDON comics, and the fact that Ryu's story managed to remain at the centre of the Street Fighter universe, is all the reason we need to crown him HOTW!

Secret Wars on Infinite Earths: The Comic Book Fight Club is updated with varying consistency, promising a feature fight for every Friday on the calendar (even if sometimes they're late). The site acts as an information resource, discussion site, review blog, and sensei-murdering final boss!

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