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Street Fighter Unlimited Volume 1: The New Journey Hardcover – September 13, 2016
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Unlimited continues to focus on Ryu’s battle to resist the Dark Hado or Satui No Hado. Not my favorite story arc but so be it. As we learned in previous volumes Balrog and Vega have split what remains of Shadaloo following the death of M. Bison, with Balrog creating a legitimate business in Vegas while Vega basically continues Bison’s criminal empire. Meanwhile, Gill, the leader of the Secret Society, is increasing his power on the world stage. At one point he sprouts angel wings and stops a nuclear missile aimed at Russia. Perhaps the next volume will explain more but if this truly is what happened it seems out of place for a Street Fighter story and more appropriate for a super hero comic.
I enjoyed this volume but I didn’t love it. Besides the lack of SFIII characters, I felt the art wasn’t always up to Udon’s standards. There is a fight between Ken and Balrog that should have been a lot better. Balrog is one of the most visually awesome SF characters and he just didn’t look that amazing. A lot of the punches and kicks from both combatants looked awkward and weak. At other times the art looks considerably better so it’s far from a washout. Like previous volumes the main storyline moves at a glacier pace. There are 136 pages in the book. With 18 pages of bonus art and covers (which are admittedly gorgeous) that leaves 118 pages of story and as with all the previous volumes there is a ton of filler that has nothing to do with the main storyline. There is, for instance, a five-page fight between Karin and Ibuki that is entirely self-contained. Once you subtract all the filler there isn’t a ton left. As with many of the other volumes I’m left wanting more because I don’t feel satisfied. I was pleased that the last panel shows a prominent SFV character so there is some integration with the latest game. In the Street Fighter chronology SFV precedes SFIII so it would make sense that characters from SFV could make appearances.
I’m very much into these large hardcover Street Fighter books by Udon. This is the seventh I own and they are all the same art style and dimensions so they look great on a bookshelf. The one difference with Unlimited is that the spine is white instead of the usual black. I have yet to purchase any of the Legends books but they are also the same dimensions. In Unlimited there is fight between Crimson Viper and Juri that ends with, “to be continued Street Fighter Legends: Cammy” The Cammy volume hasn’t been released yet but I like the synergy between series. Maybe someday someone can explain why the Legends series only spotlights female characters. If you enjoyed the previous volumes from Udon you should enjoy this one.