Street Fighter × G.I. Joe Comes to IDW by Jerry Whitworth
Announced at San Diego Comic-Con International 2015, Capcom’s popular Street Fighter fighting game franchise is coming to IDW Publishing in a comic book crossover with Hasbro’s popular G.I. Joe toyline titled Street Fighter × G.I. Joe. Few details are as yet known save that villainous organizations Shadaloo and Cobra would team-up and Vega and Storm Shadow will face off against each other. This is not the first time the two lines have in some fashion crossed over when in 1993, Hasbro produced Street Fighter II toys as part of the G.I. Joe line with figures made of Balrog, Blanka, Chun-Li, Dhalsim, Edmond Honda, Guile, Ken Masters, M. Bison, Ryu, Sagat, Vega, and Zangief. The following year, Hasbro used many of the same molds to make a tie-in line to the live action Street Fighter film in the same fashion to G.I. Joe (but making no reference to G.I. Joe). Lets take a look at what a crossover comic book mini-series could entail.
Founded by Cobra Commander, Cobra Command is an international terrorist organization dedicated toward world domination. Part of the high ranking members of this organization include arms dealer Destro, super spy Baroness, mad scientist Dr. Mindbender, wealthy businessmen and mercenaries Tomax and Xamot, expert assassin Storm Shadow, and Zartan, leader of the Dreadnoks biker gang. Cobra Commander’s rule of his organization would be usurped by Serpentor, a genetic hybrid of history’s greatest (and most ruthless) warriors and strategic minds. G.I. Joe was founded to combat Cobra and battle them where ever they popped up (though, Russia chose instead to protect its borders with its own group called the Oktober Guard). Cobra has underwent many changes over the years, at one point becoming involved with the illegal drug trade by partnering with the Headhunters and aligning with the Red Ninjas (renegade former members of the Arashikage ninja clan), and has seen many leadership changes and internal power struggles but it tends to some degree return to its roots under Cobra Commander.
Founded by the mysterious Psycho Powered M. Bison, Shadaloo is a criminal organization with ties around the world’s various underground trades including drugs, arms, and genetic and biomechanical engineering. Atop this syndicate is the Four Heavenly Kings, namely Bison and his bodyguard Sagat, assassin Vega, and enforcer Balrog. As part of their experiments in genetic modification, a group called the Dolls were created as a private guard for Bison made up of twelve brainwashed female fighters and a clone of Bison named Cammy. However, Cammy would break free of Bison’s control and liberate the Dolls (though, their fates are largely unknown). A division of Shadaloo named S.I.N. would later break free of its parent and scoop up its former organization’s remnants following the demise of Bison. This new organization’s leader Seth was in reality an experimental new body created for Bison (one of several) who unknowingly acted as a placeholder until Bison could be resurrected and reclaim Shadaloo. A wildcard in the mix is Juri Han, an assassin seemingly under Seth’s control enhanced by S.I.N. only to betray her master and appears to want to take over Shadaloo from Bison.
From just these brief descriptions, it’s fairly simple to see how these criminal enterprises can intersect when you consider Shadaloo is in the drugs, arms, and super science business which can align with Cobra’s Headhunters, Destro and his Iron Grenadiers, and Dr. Mindbender’s various fields, respectively. Certain characters on both sides also bear certain similarities such as the aforementioned Storm Shadow and Vega as assassins (although, Storm Shadow may have more in common with the character Akuma), Big Boa and Balrog as boxers, and Serpentor and Seth as genetically enhanced superhumans. Among the Dolls, three stand out in the loner Decapre and the somewhat duo of Juni and Juli. It then doesn’t become too hard to see how Baroness (the highest ranking female in Cobra Command) could find herself against Decapre while Juni, Juli, and the Dolls could find themselves pitted against Tomax, Xamot, and their Crimson Guard (Cobra Commander’s private soldiers and bodyguards). Regarding the Dreadnoks, likely their best counterparts would be something like the Mad Gear Gang. The antagonists of Capcom’s Final Fight series, many of the Gang’s members would find their way into Street Fighter and its lore, specifically Hugo, Rolento, Poison, and Sodom. Prominent members of the Dreadnoks are leader Zartan and his siblings Zarana and Zandar and daughter Zanya as well as Buzzer, Ripper, Torch, Monkeywrench, Thrasher, and Road Pig. It’s challenging to consider what member of Cobra could at some level stand-up to Sagat in a street fight besides Storm Shadow, but likely the closest candidate would be saboteur and ninja Firefly. Of interest, Cobra supposedly has a telepath named Crystal Ball which could in some fashion work into a plot involving Bison and his Psycho Power (or Bison’s enemy Rose and her Soul Power). As an aside, parallels could perhaps even be drawn between Cobra-La and the Illuminati.
G.I. Joe was created as America’s special mission force to combat Cobra Command at every level of its assault on the world’s freedom (making for a eclectic assemblage of forces from the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, law enforcement, fire rescue, and many more areas considering how varied Cobra’s attacks evolved). Several people have lead this force however, arguably, its most well known superior is General Hawk (all Joes using codenames to protect their families from reprisal by Cobra). Despite dozens of notable members, several Joes that seem to be a cut above the rest include Duke, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Flint, Lady Jaye, Roadblock, Gung-Ho, Spirit, Cover Girl, Quick Kick, Wet Suit, Shipwreck, Alpine, Bazooka, Stalker, and Sgt. Slaughter. An intriguing aspect of G.I. Joe is the employment of Arashikage ninja resulting in Ninja Force, a group led by Snake Eyes and composed of the likes of Jinx, T’Jbang, Nunchuk, Dojo, Banzai, Bushido, T’Gin-Zu, Tiger Claw, and Kamakura as well as a loose affiliation with Cobra Commander’s son Billy Kessler (Jinx’s boyfriend Budo, a modern day samurai, has also been affiliated with the group).
Most of the characters in Street Fighter are, as the name implies, simply street fighters. Some exceptions especially in terms of enemies of Shadaloo exist, especially in Chun-Li. An Interpol agent seeking to destroy the criminal organization as M. Bison supposedly killed her father, the heroine would later draw USAF soldiers Charlie Nash and Guile into her crusade. Another government operative combating Shadaloo is Crimson Viper, a CIA undercover agent who infiltrated S.I.N. to eliminate Seth. Likely the hero of the Street Fighter series is Ryu, a vagabond karate fighter who is sought by Bison (who discovers Ryu’s dark Satsui no Hado is akin to Psycho Power). Ryu’s best friend is also his rival in Ken Masters and Ryu’s biggest fan is a school girl named Sakura who tries to persuade the street fighter to train her in combat (Ken would get a similar disciple in Sean). Another who is a significant foe to Shadaloo is Rose, a fortune teller that is in some manner linked to Bison and wishes his destruction. Bison’s clone Cammy White would end up a prominent member of Delta Red, a British military special forces organization, and is drawn into conflict with Shadaloo. Just as Seth was a spare body meant for Bison, another such creation would arise (perhaps trained by Nash) named Abel who would become Seth’s enemy. He would join action movie star Fei Long who wanted to investigate S.I.N. following their attack on his latest film.
Clearly, Chun-Li, Guile, and Crimson Viper are obvious examples of government operatives that can easily transfer over into G.I. Joe’s conflict. Even Delta Red could be a fairly easy addition considering Britain’s support of G.I. Joe (including UK special forces soldier Big Ben being a member of the Joes). There are also other parallels such as Quick Kick and Fei Long both being martial art action film stars, Spirit and street fighter Thunder Hawk both being of Southern Native American heritage, and ninja such as Snake Eyes, Jinx, and Kamakura to Guy, Maki, and Ibuki (though, Snake Eyes may have more in common with Ryu in several ways). There is also Tom, a military veteran and expert fighter who mentored Street Fighter III’s protagonist Alex, which could tie into the story. There exists perhaps some symmetry between Cammy and Billy as the former is a clone of Bison that turns on her master and latter the son of Cobra Commander who tries to bring his father to justice. In a fashion, the teenage trio of Ibuki, Makoto, and Elena also mirror Scarlett, Lady Jaye, and Cover Girl who, still largely true today, are the female trio of G.I. Joe (though, a few more women would join the organization, notably Jinx). While Sgt. Slaughter is a wrestler in real life, the character himself in G.I. Joe has no such connection but Street Fighter has many such wrestling characters like Zangief, Rainbow Mika, Yamato Nadeshiko, Hugo, El Fuerte, and Hakan (as well as Final Fight’s Mike Haggar).