Ibuki #4 Commentary

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #4, the final issue, came out Sept 22nd. I’ve seen a few other people do commentary for comics they’ve worked on and I’ve found it fascinating so hopefully people who read and enjoyed the issue will feel the same way. If not, at least I’ll have some of my own thoughts about it organized in one place.

Older commentaries:
Issue #1
Issue #2
Issue #3

Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki #4

PAGE 1: Picking up moments after the cliffhanger from issue #3, our gang has been captured by the evil Geki clan. Omar wasn’t happy about drawing all those net lines, but he’s a trooper.

PAGE 2: When I was writing this scene I realized I’d put the girls in this net without knowing how I’d actually get them out. Makoto’s Tanden Renki rage became a great way to get the action going in a way that made sense.

PAGE 3: Makoto’s dash dragging everyone else in the net along for the ride was something I hoped people would get a kick out of. Even a large group of ninjas wouldn’t expect something weird like that.

PAGE 4: Yuta arrives just in time with tanuki (and the fox who also hangs with Ibuki according to canon background info) backing him up. The ridiculousness of the tanuki air ambush injects some comedy back in to things here.

PAGE 5: Elena gets to show off her incredible leg acrobatics and Ibuki rocks out her Sazan move. It’s important to give characters time to do their special stuff and let the reader revel in that.

PAGE 6: With all the plot lines rushing to finish this issue, we really packed it in. The characters don’t even have a moment to rest. It’s go time!

PAGE 7: Again, we didn’t have time to establish the start of the ninja war and cutting in to the midst of it cranks up the tension. Sanjou gets to fight a bit and Ibuki gets a dramatic save entrance.

PAGE 8-9: Then Omar rocks it all with this killer 2 page spread of the ninja war going wild. Everyone gets to look cool and show off their skills. If you look carefully in the back you can even see Sarai fighting the fires with a bucket of water.

PAGE 10: A big show-off page for our main characters. We’ve followed them for the past 3 issues and now it’s their time to kick major butt. The book is called Street Fighter, after all.

PAGE 11: Ibuki and her ninja family aren’t the only ones with smoke bomb tricks. The leader of the Geki being called Alpha is a bit of a joke, riffing on the ‘Street Fighter Alpha’ game title. We didn’t have space for it but I had an idea that Alpha’s bodyguard would be nicknamed “Turbo”.

PAGE 12-13: These flashback pages were the ones I was most worried about. It was one of the most important parts of my story pitch and the thing I knew we’d need to sell just right to Street Fighter fans.

Enjo has a claw weapon just like Geki does in Street Fighter 1 and I surmised that they could be from the same clan. So, if Enjo now has his own clan, he could be a renegade, someone the Geki want revenge upon. It was just a matter of taking the visual elements in the canon and tying them together. Extrapolating that further, then Enjo could be connected even deeper to Ibuki and she could have a past with the Geki. That would also explain why Enjo lets Ibuki keep modern things and lets her have extra contact with the outside world. He looks at her like an adopted daughter.

Anyways, I hope readers and Street Fighter fans liked this back story for Ibuki and that it works for them. I’m really proud of how it turned out and the great job Omar did with it.

PAGE 14: Some martial arts film-style drama here. Yay!

PAGE 15: I didn’t want this issue to turn in to Street Fighter Legends: Enjo, but given that Alpha and Enjo are the clan leaders they definitely needed their ‘moment’. I don’t think Ibuki is any less the hero for it, and she even helps Enjo escape the blaze here.

PAGE 16: We killed someone without being gory about it. It punctuates the battle’s end and makes it clear that these ninja are loyal to their leader… so when a new leader is found they fall in to line.

PAGE 17: Again, we had to squeeze in a lot so time fast forwards here. It’s interesting to wonder how the two clans joining would change the dynamic of the Glade. Would they still be assassins? Anyways, we’ve got more plot lines to cover…

PAGE 18: Ibuki gets her good-byes and Sarai joins the clan, lining up with her training in Ibuki’s Super Street Fighter IV ending. I think the last panel on this page is Omar’s best Don-chan drawing.

PAGE 19: And here we mix right in to Ibuki’s ending from Street Fighter III: 3rd Strike. Whew… it took a while to get that all lined up! All the dialogue from panels 1-3 is taken from the game ending.

PAGE 20: The Dark Ninja from issue #1 is revealed! The 3rd Strike ending doesn’t explain how Ibuki got stuck doing more ninja training, so I wanted to play up the idea of next level education. In the same way you got to secondary school and then post-secondary college/university, whose to say ninjas wouldn’t do the same?

The Dark Ninja’s list of stuff Ibuki will learn to do is all shown as stills in Ibuki’s 3rd Strike ending, so that’s an in-joke. She really does do all of those eventually.

We also get a proper call back to the overarching theme of the mini-series: Ibuki is a teenager AND a ninja – she’s both at the same time.

PAGE 21: In my original outline that was it and the story was done. But, as I was going through everything again I realized that Makoto’s original combat challenge had never been dealt with, so I asked Erik for an extra page and nudged everything a bit tighter to make room for it. Our trio of female fighters get a final scene together and we wrap everything up with a bow.

PAGE 22: The fact that we get to show Ibuki’s newfound confidence makes it even sweeter. Also, I used a LOT of smoke bombs in this issue. They’re just too good not to.

PAGE 23: I wrote that Elena cheers on Ibuki and Makoto as they start their battle and Omar wonderfully added the clan watching from the cover of the nearby bushes. It’s a perfect ending.

With that, the Ibuki mini-series comes to a close. I hope you had a chance to read the issues and enjoy them. The collected trade paperback arrives in November and I can’t wait to have it all together in a single book.

I hope you found these behind-the-scenes notes entertaining. Thanks for reading!

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>