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Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki

Street Fighter Legends: IbukiStreet Fighter Legends: Ibuki
Written by Jim Zubkavich, Art by Omar Dogan
Udon Entertainment, 128 pp.
Rating: Not Rated

Street Fighter Legends: Ibkuki is the the third installment of the Street Fighter Legends series which focuses on individual characters from the popular fighting game franchise. In this case it zeroes in on the young ninja giro, Ibuki, from the Street Fighter III game. Written by Jim Zubkavich with art from Street Fighter Legends mainstay Omar Dogna, Ibuki’s tale is one of a young girl struggling to maintain a balance between her duties to her ninja clan and her own desires to live like a normal teenage girl.

This book is a bit uneven and Jim Zubkavich simply has too many balls in the air. The main thrust of the series initially seems to be Ibuki’s desire to lead the life of a normal girl, something that alone would be a fine topic for the miniseries, but then you add in a ninja revenge plot, a friendly rivalry with the karate heiress Makoto, ninja tests against Oro, which in turn connects to Makoto’s own backstory, tensions with her best friend, the arrival of Elena and the story just becomes cluttered. Nothing is really given any time to develop properly and the result is a story that feels disjointed and uncentered. At times it almost feels like certain aspects were included without any real reason. Elena is a good example of this as she doesn’t really add anything to any of the plots. She’s simply there. Likewise the ninja revenge plot does a good bit to expand upon her backstory, but it’s introduced early on and by the time it’s reintroduced I had pretty much forgotten that it even existed in the first place. Despite my quibbles the book still manages to entertain though. The interaction between Makoto and Ibuki is generally pretty amusing and fun to watch and there’s a nice light hearted feel to the humor and the story in general that makes it pretty enjoyable.

Omar Dogan’s artwork is fantastic, but that’s to be expected. He handles the action scenes well and does a good job at keeping each characters likeness close to the original game designs while adding his own artistic flares. That said I did feel that his Makoto could have been a tad more butch, I seem to recall her being a bit more stocky in the game. The action scenes are clean and easy to follow and fans of the franchise may recognize some of the characters signature attacks and moves. In addition he handles the humor and quieter moments wonderfully as well, with a moment where Makoto is forced to choose between her duty and her desires being a particularly stand out moment.

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki is hardly going to be mistaken for high literature of life changing material. While I can’t deny that it was a light and enjoyable read, I’d also be lying if I said it was a totally satisfying read. Some of the plot resolutions feel forced and I was left with the feeling that it was more of a collection of cool moments and good ideas held together by a rather shaky framework. It’s a fun read, but one with some glaring flaws that are hard to ignore.

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki is available now from Udon Entertainment.

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