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SNK Vs. Capcom: SVC Chaos #2    by Wah Chen & Fat Ip order for
SNK Vs. Capcom
by Wah Chen
Order:  USA  Can
Dr. Master, 2004 (2004)
* *   Reviewed by Lance Victor Eaton

Enter the world of Street Fighter and King of Fighters in this on-going series. After discovering that his powers are usurping his life-energy, cold ambitious crime lord Bison created a clone, Iori. But Iori rejects his original's plans and prevents Bison from programming his brain waves to absorb Bison's mind. Angered over the lost of his extended life, Bison decides no one should live and brings destruction to the world.

Heroes and villains alike awake on a parallel Earth - populated by fighters. Characters find each other and while some (like Chung Li, Guile, and Terry) are comrades, others (e.g. Iori and Genjuro) know immediately that they face an enemy and begin to fight. After the arrival of another crime lord (Geese Howard) draws everyone's attention, they gravitate to one meeting place, where angels explain their mission. They will be given three lives (much like the video game) in which to fight against all others. The survivor will be granted a single wish. After hearing the rules, everyone is quickly dispatched to different areas of the world.

It has become commonplace for comic books to become video games, but this graphic novel does the reverse. Though one might be skeptical of a fighter-based game having much worth as a comic book series, the title is compelling. The series driving force derives from its one on one battles, that at times are not only fantastically illustrated but very intense and reveal glimmers of the video game itself. Fighters perform special moves - ones that made the video game so popular to begin with - that an opponent can deflect or respond to with their own technique.

Chi Wan Shum manages to keep the fights fresh and interesting despite each volume having upwards of a dozen fights. The story is at times confusing, but Shum goes to some lengths to bring his readers up to date, with introductions and concise explanations about what is transpiring. The art at times exhibits a painting-like display that is utterly exquisite. Examples abound within this graphic novel of panels and pages that could easily be blown up into posters and sell in large quantities. While some sequences are drawn and colored like your average comic book, many panels, particularly in dueling scenes, are painted and crafted so wonderfully that readers may find themselves staring at them a good while longer than they anticipated.

With wonderful art and a compelling (albeit completely action-oriented) plot, SNK VS Capcom: SVC Chaos #2 raises the standard for the video game/comic book crossover. Even those who don't know the video games will still be ensnared by the compelling vibe of this graphic novel.

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