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Off The Rack Comic Review: Street Fighter X GI Joe

April 19, 2020 | Posted by Rob Stewart
Street Fighter GI Joe
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Off The Rack Comic Review: Street Fighter X GI Joe  

I’ve never been a big Licensed Property kind of guy.

When I read comic books, I want to read comic book characters. I don’t pick up a comic book because I want to read Stranger Things story. If I want Stranger Things, I’ll watch the show. When I want a comic book, I want Spider-Man. Or Jubilee. Mostly Jubilee.

Not to say I am direly opposed to licensed comics existing; they just aren’t my type of thing typically. I get how comics can do things in their medium that other forms of entertainment can’t quite do. And I get that some properties like Firefly were discontinued early and comics let them live on. So there are reasons for licensed properties to exist in come ic book form, and I respect that.

But again… I feel like it’s just not what I’m in the medium for.

If you want to read a Lone Ranger comic, go for it! I’m glad it makes you happy! I’ll stick to my corner of the genre, reading about the characters created for it.

TITLE: Street Fighter X GI Joe

Writer and Artist: Aubrey Sitterson and Emilio Laiso

Publisher:IDW

Protagonists: Oh my god, so many. Guile, Cammy, Ryu, Jinx, others…

Antagonists: Destro and M. Bison

Street Fighter X GI Joe (is “X” a shorthand for Versus now? Or And? Or… what?) is a six issue mini-series from IDW (one of the go-to comic publisher for licensed property work) that is centered around a World Warrior tournament sponsored by M. Bison and the terrorist organization COBRA.

At face value, it’s just to determine the best warrior on the planet. But behind the scenes, Destro and M. Bison are harvesting energy from the battles to power up Bison’s Psycho Drive. Kind of like Yamu and Spopovich were doing in Dragon Ball Z, using energy from the fights to awaken Majin Buu!

As the characters from the two universes battle it out, plans are laid bare, and there are double—and even triple—crosses. Some characters take dives… others refuse to take the dives they are ordered to… and the heroes put all their faith in an unlikely challenger to save the day.

After the tournament is settled, the ultimate (if accidental) “boss battle” is against a Psycho-powered fat loverboy named Rufus. I am… not familiar with this character at all, but I haven’t played a Street Fighter game since the Super Nintendo. I guess he was introduced later on?

The Joes and World Warriors combine their power to strike Rufus down, but the mayhem allows Destro and The Baroness to escape with an imprisoned M. Bison in tow… for COBRA brainwashing.

This book is exactly as deep and layered as you would expect something to be when it is called “Street Fighter X GI Joe”. For the first four or five issues, it is essentially one fight scene after another from the Sweet Sixteen through to the Final of the tournament. There’s no real meat here, but I assume IDW and Sitterson knew what the target audience of this book would want and just gave it to them.

The most frustrating aspect of the series is the beginning. It starts in the middle of the tournament and with no establishment. Within the first three pages of issue one, I was convinced there was either an issue #0 or a whole lead-in series that I missed. You never get the backstory, either! Destro and Bison are hosting a tournament, and the round of 32 already happened and 16 characters are already out… welcome to Street Fighter X GI Joe! The writing even goes all-in on basically acting like there is nothing to establish.

There is something to be said for a comic that doesn’t pretend to be anything more than a big, dumb action book and delivers a big, dumb action book. Sometimes a comic book will think it has more to say than it does, and it could be just a big, dumb action book, it gets bogged down in throwing out twists or repetitive morals. Those books are… not ideal. Street Fighter X GI Joe knows exactly what it is.

This isn’t a book dedicated to crafting high-level character work, but one of the highs of the series is seeing the “Oh that makes sense!” level of respect that exists between the Joe’s and Guile. Despite being the star of the live action Van Damme movie, Guile is not a character who usually gets to headline Street Fighter properties when Ken and Ryu are around. But he gets to be the star of the show here, and even goes Suplex City on some jabroneys with his signature German Suplex.

Talking Point: What is your favorite licensed property comic book? There have been SO MANY over the decades. What were some of the best?

And while you’re thinking on that, if you want to enjoy more comic book related blogs and a weekly podcast, visit Ghosts of the Stratosphere. Our podcast is full of debates, top ten lists, and comic reviews, and we update daily!

You can also follow us on Twitter, @gotstratosphere for updates!

4.0
The final score: review Poor
The 411
Look, this is what it is, and it isn’t pretending to be anything more or less than that. You want to see GI Joe’s and Street Fighters using big bonzo attacks on each other for six issues, and this book delivers. No one is going to confuse this with Maus, but it’s not trash either. It delivers on the promise of its premise.
legend

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Off the Rack, Rob Stewart