As much as I suck at it, the Street Fighter franchise has been quite the mainstay of my life, having been one of my first video games I ever played. And although I’ve only gotten into G.I. Joe the past few years or so, it quickly became one of my favorite franchises. When the news broke that these two great franchises with decades of history would cross over, I, along with I’m sure a lot of fans all over the world, rejoiced.
Aubrey Sitterson (Former Marvel editor, host of wrestling podcast Straight Shoot), Emilio Laiso (Hack/Slash), David Garcia Cruz (G.I. Joe), and Robbie Robbins (The Authority) bring us Street Fighter X G.I. Joe, a fight comic crossover between the World Warriors and the Real American Heroes. The central concept is simple enough, a fight tournament between the characters of both franchises. As simple as the concept was, it’s the execution that shines through.
The fight-based storytelling that Sitterson has talked about in his interviews regarding the series is put in full effect in the comic, which almost exclusively consists of fight scenes. As cool as these fight scenes are, they also serve to deliver the main meat of the plot. Fans of either (or both) franchises will love seeing the characters’ voices (or lack thereof) being nailed perfectly by Sitterson, despite some of them having a very limited screentime. The brisk pacing that throws us from fight to fight sometimes with less than a page between KO’s happening and the next fight recalls the format of Street Fighter’s Arcade modes, being thrown from one fight to the next with only a little breather. Despite the tournament bracket being shown at the start, get ready to have your predictions thrown out the window as Sitterson isn’t afraid to have the underdogs win (as this issue has demonstrated).
Of course, these fights won’t be any fun without Laiso’s art, combined with Cruz’s colors. The kinetic flow of actions from panel to panel is like watching a Street Fighter match unfold, with no dull moments to be found. The cartoony style also meshes well with both sides of the crossover, looking almost like as if Capcom made an actual Street Fighter X G.I. Joe game (Get on it, Capcom!). The colors especially shine at the special attacks. Seeing Ryu pull out the Hadouken dropped my jaw at how awesome it looked. Robbins’ letters also deserves a special mention here, especially whenever the fight starts and ends. You can just hear the announcer yelling ‘FIGHT!’ and the ‘K O!’ at the end, along with the loser’s echoing screams. Art-wise, this series cannot get any better.
The extra stuff for readers didn’t disappoint either. This issue featured a short recap of what happened in the qualifying rounds and could be an explanation for why some of your favorites didn’t make it into the tournament. Reading some of these, I’d read the hell out of a spinoff one-shot that shows the qualifying rounds. The Street Fighter characters featured in this issue also received Joe-style filecards, which is a nice bonus.
For fans of either (or both) franchises, this is a must-read. Despite a few issues, like the absence of several mainstays like Duke and Scarlett even in the qualifiers (I know, nitpicking), this is a great start to a great tournament, and I can’t wait to see the next issue.