Review - Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 (@IDWPublishing)

"Do what we paid you to do: win at all costs."

Street Fighter has a way of maintaining a grip on popular culture. G.I. Joe feels like it's never left, despite having its heyday way back in the 80s. Join the two up though as IDW Publishing does in Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 and you're sure to get more excitement than you can handle. The issue is written by Aubrey Sitterson, illustrated by Emilio Laiso, colored by David Garcia Cruz and lettered by Robbie Robbins.

On a hidden island in international waters, 16 combatants enter a secret that pits Street Fighter vs. G.I. JOE! M. Bison and Destro have joined forces, and taking them down will require the world's finest warriors: Ryu, Snake Eyes, Guile, Scarlett, Chun-Li and Duke.

Universe mash-ups are always a good time and Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 is no exception. Sitterson blends them together in the traditional Street Fighter way, in that Bison and Destro are overseeing the characters in a fighting tournament. The thing about the plot though is Sitterson is a little hazy when it comes to why exactly the two universes are being pitted against one another. Bison and Destro seem to have ulterior motives (as they always do), but the pairings for the battles seem a little random. That's not say that Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 isn't enjoyable, as Sitterson clearly knows what makes each character tick and puts them each in battles that are a little unexpected. Because there are so many battles though, the first issue feels a little rushed, as if Sitterson is moving very quickly to get the initial fights out of the way for the grander story implications.

All of the characters in Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 bear easily recognizable characteristics that fans of either universe will have no trouble recognizing. And Laiso also does a fantastic job of handling the fight sequence, imbuing each relevant panel with a sense of kinetic energy. Laiso's work feels much more mature and less arcade-y than, say, Edwin Huang's take on Street Fighter, but it's still remarkably effective. Cruz's coloring is predominantly darker, emphasizing a contrast between the black shadows and the whitish-blue Hadokens. Robbins does an exception job with the lettering, giving brief dossier's of each character in a computer-style font while also adding in plenty of sound effects for good measure--he even works in the familiar "KO" font for fight finishes!

Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 is a lot of fun. Seeing characters from each universe go up against one another is pretty enjoyable. Sitterson does a great job of pairing the combatants up in a way that every match feels fair, despite certain abilities one side may have which might give them an unfair advantage. Laiso's artwork feels mature and looks to draw more upon the G.I. Joe style of things, adding a certain level of realism to the work. Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 is the latest entrant in the mash-up competition that feels a little strange at first, but once you settle in you come to realize you've been missing it the entire time it wasn't there.

Street Fighter X GI Joe #1 is in stores now.