The Street Fighter Legends series serves as side stories to the main story line being crafted by Udon based on the popular Capcom fighting games. Each character got four issues and a trade paper back. What I like about the Legends series is that its fun. There’s no world ending story or deep meaning behind each attack, just simple problems needing simple answers. Sakura is the star of the first Street Fighter Legends book so let’s see how it matches up to her last outing as a protagonist.
Street Fighter Legends Volume 1: Sakura (2007)
Author: Omar Dogan,Ken Sui-Chong
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Binding Reviewed: Softcover (128 pages), Trade Paper Back
A sequel to the Street Fighter II comic series also made by Udon, Sakura is back at home after travelling with Ryu, hoping to build on top of what she had learnt. However Karin has other plans and plots to defeat Sakura by any means possible. The book is completely opposite in terms of tone to the Nakahira books. Legends opts for a light hearted romp through pubescent socialising and infrequent fisticuffs compared to the life or death, wax philosophical martial questioning of the former. And it works a lot better too. Sakura is a free spirited lass herself so it makes sense that her home town is bubblegums and rainbows.
The story is cartoon grade material. Simple and entertaining, something you won’t think of again after finishing but as I said before it works in this context. Street Fighter has a colorful cast and an extended universe with Rival Schools and Final Fight. Udon know their lore so its a blast when Rival School kids make an appearance. However there are some unrealistic character situations like, why would Zangief would be performing pro-wrestling a la WWE? He’s a pro-communist soviet enforcer that wrestles bears in the snowy mountains. But if he was replaced with other series grapplers like El Fuerte or Alex the jokes just won’t be as good. Speaking of humour, the visual gags are plenty. Not only gags but really cool easter eggs that eagle eyed fans will be searching for in each panel. I picked out a few of them but some are deceptively hidden, fortunately they’re all revealed in the extras section at the back.
The best part of Legends is the art. I LOVE THIS STYLE. Omar Dogan is one of my favourite artists up at Udon Entertainment and he does fantastic job here. The panel layout is excellent too, he really knows how to use the most out of the page. Sometimes character portraits will spillover the gutters to accentuating them and making the layout more dynamic. The action scenes are good too. Each hit looks like a blow pulled from the game due to fantastic use of fonts combined with onomatopoeia. However some actions look static with only speed lines showing kinetic force driving the action. The fights are fast often only showing a few of the signature moves for each character before defeat is reached.
The trade paper back also includes an extras section with all the cover variants, extra artwork found in the Udon’s Art of Capcom, and a glossary of easter eggs with small bios. This goes the extra step for fans and its a super addition. For the budding artist, it also has tutorials showing the thought process behind the layout of a page and a step by step drawing of a cover art for a comic. The four issue story will take you about half an hour to complete so having more goodies after is terrific.
This is a book clearly made by the fans of the series. Lots of work has gone into capturing the spirit of Street Fighter’s lighter side but also including extra content that goes beyond the regular trade paper back extras. This is a book I would recommend to everyone to get. The art is great, the story is delightful, and it can stand on its own as a graphic novel. My only complaint is that its a little bit light but only because I’m hungry for more.