After thirteen issues of Street Fighter and four issues of Darkstalkers released so far, I have a few concerns about certain aspects of the plot development. Starting with Street Fighter, I’m referring specifically to Ryu’s plot. Granted, it’s always been a little nebulous in the games, with the Shotokan warrior seemingly striking out in random directions to improve himself. But I thought Udon had given him a more concrete purpose right from the first issue when his master was murdered. It was a sensible choice, but the execution was questionable…
Ryu did adopt an active role early on by seeking out Ken’s help in returning to Japan, but ever since then I can’t help but get the feeling that the key events were not triggered by him. Ryu did not find his arch rival Sagat, it was Sagat who found him. Ryu did not come to Akuma, it was Akuma who came to him. Ryu is merely subject to whatever trouble comes his way.
I thought this was resolved in issue six when Ryu set off again to pursue his master’s killer, but once again the developments have been minimal. After defeating Adon, he set off towards India to find Sagat, but got sidetracked by Ken’s wedding and he had to return to the States. Isn’t that sort of a tail-backward, Udon? Whatever happened to the trip to India? Whatever happened to finding Sagat and Akuma? We haven’t seen them since issues four and six respectively, and by now I’m sure they’ve been all but forgotten. In devoting more pages to the Chun-Li/Cammy/Ken side of the story, it seems that Ryu’s plot has been lost in the shuffle. It’s a general sense of fate over choice that conveys the feeling that Ryu has been given a back seat for his part in the comics - and he’s supposed to be the lead Street Fighter for cryin’ out loud!
There are similar problems in the Darkstalkers comics, expect these ones are broader and even more worrying since the series has barely begun. In issue #1, we get a delightfully mysterious introduction to Morrigan and her delectable succubus ways. Perfect. In issue #2, it switches to Donovan, and Morrigan is barely mentioned. Um… okay. In issue #3, it jumps to Felicia and Jon with a minimal dose of Morrigan. What? In issue #4, it leapfrogs over to Victor and Emily. EH?!
You can see where I’m going with this. I understand that Udon are trying to balance out character development by offering equal amounts of pages to each successive Darkstalker, but if they try and strike out in too many directions at once, the story could rapidly lose its focus and the plot will be lost. I’ve already read four issues and I have NO IDEA WHO THE PROTAGONIST IS! If this doesn’t qualify as a problem, what does?
It would have helped to aleviate the confusion if there was more interaction between the characters, but all we’ve seen so far are Jon and Felicia together, and a reference to Donovan in Victor’s storyline. After four issues, I’m afraid that’s just not enough - not after having introduced Morrigan, Donovan, Felicia, Jon, Victor, Huitzil and the big, bad Pyron. Speaking of which, I wonder how the Hellstorm warrior is doing these days. We haven’t seen him since issue #2 and the other Darkstalkers don’t even seem concerned about the bright orange star in the sky. Another lack of coherence, or are Udon playing it close to their chest?
So I think I’ve laid down my point justifiably. This general lack of direction could deteriorate the storyline and leave the plot inconclusive. Nevertheless, it would be unfair to say I’m disappointed with the issues, because I still think they’re cracking comics. But they could still achieve new levels of greatness if Udon tied things together more tightly. Anyone else agree?