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Story: Matt Moylan

Art: Genzoman

Udon, April 2022

PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS and a story needs no words, at least this one starring BLANKA, a green troll guy with stiff red hair, famous as one of the STREET FIGHTER MASTERS from video-game legends. Here he makes his debut in the Amazon rainforest lounging on a branch dreaming of his former life as a boy who survived a plane crash and emerged angry at his miserable fate alive and alone in the wreckage.

The next scenes show he is a pettable monster intent on doing good, saving a lost little girl and returning her to her distressed father, while not a word or sound is heard. The gaping mouth of the crocodile does not hiss. Socking it makes a visible impact but no smack. It feels like the audio option is turned off.

Animals flee and alert the hero to a new threat, loggers from a mining company blasting down trees with saws, flames, and bulldozers. Yet the moral agenda of good and evil turns out to be not so clear cut as the clearcutters appear to make it at first, for they too have families and challenges to make one day follow the next. By the end, storyteller Matt Moylan has us pause before assigning anyone to the dark side.

The art by Genzoman is crisp in the foreground, backed by glimmering watercolors that push the figures forward. Action and tempers are always clear from poses and facial expressions, no narration needed. Force is seen in rays of sunlight through the trees, the impact of body blows, and speed.

I landed in this unlikely spot, evidently geared toward young teens and boys in particular, by rifling the bins for Free Comic Book Day this month, emerging with a couple hands full of new stuff. This Blanka adventure is fun and exhilarating, like other Street Fighters I’ve met, and in this case also surprisingly restful shutting off the sound machine.

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