Review – Tekken #1 (Titan Comics)

Publisher: Titan Comics
Writer: Cavan Scott
Artist: Andie Tong
Release Date: 3rd May 2017

Full disclosure before we begin: I’ve always been more of a Street Fighter guy.  I mean, I’m sure I’ve played a bit of Tekken over the years, but my knowledge of the backstory and characters is, to be blunt, pretty much non-existent.  Thankfully, Titan have anticipated this, catering for novices like me by throwing in a handy little cheat sheet and “previously on Tekken”-style intro to bring everyone up to speed before this first issue even starts.

Writer Cavan Scott (Vikings, Doctor Who) has a solid track record working on licensed properties, and while I can’t speak to the authenticity of the characters, this first issue manages to jog along at a fair old pace, throwing a ton of recognisable Tekken fighters into a story that essentially boils down to shady businessman (and disgruntled dad) Kazuya Mishma looking for his son (and King of Iron Fist Tournament winner) Jin Kazama.

The issue is pretty much all setup, as familiar fighters are introduced at a rapid-fire pace and quickly slotted into the “goodie” or “baddie” camp by virtue of their actions.  It’s all familiar licensed comic fare, and Scott keeps any sense of subtlety firmly on the back burner throughout the course of this opening chapter.  Hell, it only takes five pages before things erupt into a large-scale, all-out street brawl between the two different ‘sides’, if you need a rough idea of what to expect from this first issue.

Thankfully, artist Andie Tong does a stellar job with the visual side of the book, making the characters instantly recognisable (even to a clueless Tekken n00b like me) and putting together some dynamic, fluid and suitably bone-crunching action scenes along the way.  There’s also a slight looseness to his pencils that works well to prevent things from feeling too sterile, and there are plenty of dramatic action beats and impressive splash pages thrown in for good measure, too.

As pretty as it looks though, I’m not entirely sure who the main target audience for this series is, as the bulk of this first issue is focused on introducing the characters and giving us a brief summary of their abilities and personalities, an approach which could potentially leave a lot of die-hard Tekken fans twiddling their thumbs.  As a newcomer, it’s a helpful if slightly exhausting approach, and with nine or ten separate characters being introduced over the course of this 22-page issue, it doesn’t leave much time for an actual story, as you might imagine.

Ultimately, this is a fairly bloated first issue, bogged down slightly by the kind of constraints that frequently go hand in hand with licensed properties.  Hopefully now that all the (re)introductions are out of the way, Scott can start actually telling his story, although the fact that Tong’s artwork is so damn pretty makes this a first issue that’s still worth picking up.  If you’re a Tekken fan, this is probably already on your pull list, and if you’re not, this is definitely a concise and well-illustrated introduction to the world of the Bandai Namco video game.

Rating: 3/5.

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ceejThe writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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