Udon Entertainment 2016
Written by Ken Siu-Chong
Illustrated by Joe NG
Coloured by Espen Grundetjeren
Flats by Ludwig Olimba
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Written by Chris Mowry
Illustrated by Hanzo Steinbach
Gill’s tournament and what he’s doing there while both underhanded and sneaky is completely brilliant. Replacing fighters with those creations to find the fighters he needs for not only his army but other nefarious plans is genius. The real question is what happens when the contestants find out what’s really going on?
Ken has surprised me with how good this series has been. This series has been pretty much my introduction to the franchise and i’ve really liked the characterization and story development I’ve been seeing here. For a book based on a two person fighting video game I came into this thinking how much story could there really possibly be that gives all these characters a chance to fight as well advance some kind story and characterisation. Well I’m happy to report that both the story aspect and the characterisation has been extremely engaging and make all this fighting tournament take on a new meaning.
Even better is that as we see this issue there are factions about that know what’s going on and are making plans and preparations to ensure that Gill’s plans don’t come to fruition. After all as it’s stated “leaving the godforsaken world the way it is rather than kneel before Gill in his new one” really sums up self-preservation and self-interest. I like that we can see this kind of subterfuge it adds that element to it that is exciting to the story to see if they can pull it off or not.
Meanwhile the spotlight on Gill and what he’s doing which is essential to the meeting mentioned above is horrific and fascinating. What we see unfold is nothing like I would’ve expected. Yes I saw him trying to eliminate the competition to stop him while he sets himself up as a new god but to see what he’s truly capable of well it’s kind of terrifying.
Ryu’s own inner struggles to control the force within is put to the test this issue as well. So much is going on here and playing out in front of so many of the characters that it almost seems too much. Yet Ken is able to weave it all into the issue and make it work with a fast paced story that barely leaves you time to catch your breath.
The interiors from Joe and Espen really do so much to help tell the story. I love the overly muscled look on some characters the likenesses of some others and just the overall look and appeal of fighters of this caliber. The bodies should look like they could break steel and approach a condition the average person couldn't dream of achieving. The way the book flows through the page layouts with spotlights on events, actions, people through the angles and perspective is amazing to see play out. You could read this from the visuals alone and understand what’s happening.
This is so much more than you might ever expect it to be. Interesting, complex and full of those wow factor moments that make the fighting secondary to the story itself.