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Street Fighter's first story arc comes to its epic conclusion, as Ryu and Ken face off against the deadliest warrior in the world... AKUMA! PLUS! Rey's 'Cheap Shots' plays tribute to a beloved World Warrior.

It is twelve years ago, when the issue begins, and we see a very young Ryu being trained by his master, Gouken. When they finish their katas, Gouken turns to Ryu and tells him how proud of him he is, and that he hopes he sees the day when Ryu surpasses him.

Back in the present, Ryu and Ken face Akuma. When Ryu sees that he is wearing master Gouken's beads, he is enraged. "You murdered your own brother!" He shouts at Akuma. Akuma says that he did not - he defeated an oppponent that was beneath him. Ryu asks him if he has forgotten that Gouken once spared him. Akuma replies that Gouken was a fool to allow mercy, loyalty or family to stand in the way of victory. He says that Gouken was unfit to teach, and that they should be happy that Akuma brought an end to Gouken and his false principles.

Ryu and Ken have had enough, and the two of them launch themselves at the dark warrior - but catch nothing but air with their attacks. Moving at impossible speeds, Akuma lands his own strikes on the pair before they can react, speeding away after each one. Over and over again, the same scenario of failed attacks followed by devastatingly successful counterattacks, plays out. Grabbing Ken, Akuma tells him that he has too many earthly attachments to ever be a complete fighter. "Is it a child...? A woman...?" Akuma asks. Ken responds with an insult, and Akuma tosses him away, saying that until he has nothing to lose he will never fight without hesitation.

Again, Ryu lunges at Akuma, with a barrage of attacks even more devastating then before. Sakura and Kei arrive just in time to witness the display, and Sakura, laying eyes on Ryu for the first time, thinks: "He's... He's perfect..."

Ryu fires off a "HADOKEN" blue fireball at Akuma, who blocks the blast, seemingly absorbing or dispersing it's effects.

Seeing this, Sakura is simply unable to contain herself."Oh my GOD! That was INCREDIBLE" She yells, charging out into the middle of the fight to introduce herself to Ryu. Ryu tries to warn her away, but instead she gives him a respectful bow, and asks to be his student. "I'll even fight this man if you'd accept me!" Sakura says, suddenly charging Akuma.

Akuma bats her away with minimal effort, sending her flying back the same wayshe came, and crashing her barely conscious form into Kei, knocking Kei cold. Ryu runs to Sakura, who asks for another try and says that she has to prove herself to him, before then passing out in Ryu's arms. Ryu tears a strip of cloth from his white gi, and ties it around Sakura's head to staunch the flow of blood coming from the wound she received when Akuma struck her. "I think you've already proven you're a fighter." He says.

Turning back to Akuma, Ryu asks him how he could do that to a child. Akuma responds that she attacked him without hesitation, and that Ryu could learn something from her.

"Maybe I already have!" Ryu responds, and flies at Akuma with a lightning-fast helicopter kick. Akuma manages to block every strike from the attack, bar the last, which cracks him squarely across the face.

Spitting blood, Akuma smiles. "FINALLY!" He roars, and for the first time, goes on the offensive.

Akuma smashes his fists into Ryu again and again, sending him flying, and than finishing up with a mid-air, downwards, dark purple fireball to Ryu's midsection. "If you were the best Gouken's dojo produced, he was more incompetent than I ever imagined." Akuma says to him.

Then, suddenly we are once again back in Ryu's youth, as he trains with Gouken. Gouken tells Ryu that the time has come to put his training into practice. His opponent will be Retsu, and Gouken's asks Ryu to take it easy on him. "He is not as young as he used to be!" Ryu promises not to disappoint his master, and the fight begins.

At first Retsu gets the better of Ryu, kicking him to the ground even as he encourages him not to hold back. As Ryu rises, however, his face has become a mask of rage and his eyes glow with red energy. Roaring, he delivers a powerful haymaker to Retsu's face, sending him flying backwards.

Just as suddenly, we return to the present. Ryu gets back to his feet, following Akumas attacks, and just as in the past his face is filled with anger and his eyes are glowing red. He flies at Akuma, his fist glowing with dark purple energies. Akuma sidesteps the attack, and Ryu's fist leaves a crater where the dark warrior had been standing. Ryu snaps out of his daze, and, his face returning to normal, he stares at his hands in shock.

Akuma tells Ryu he has tasted of the dark hadou, just as akuma always thought he had. He tells Ryu to seek him out at the next Street Fighter tournament, if he wants to avenge Gouken. "Embrace your power, and prove to me that I have not spared your life in vain." Akuma says, then knocks Ryu cold with a final blow to the back of his head.

We return to the fight between Ryu and Retsu in the past. Ryu stands over his opponent, eyes blazing red and his fingers wrapped around Retsu's throat. Gouken grabs Ryu, physically lifting him away and demanding that he stand down. Ryu, does so, sinking to the ground and pulling his knees to his chest as he calms himself. Retsu reassures Gouken that he is not hurt. "Your student is much stronger than he appears." Retsu tells Gouken, smiling as he does.

Ryu tells Gouken that he is sorry and that he doesn't know what came over him. "I just didn't want to disappoint you."

Gouken reassures Ryu that he has not, and that he has always known that Ryu possesses the desire to better himself found in all true martial artists. He says that this same aspiration, however, can destroy him. Gouken tells him that the power Ryu felt just then, was the same power that drove Gouken's brother mad. Ryu asks him what he can do, and Gouken tells him that no matter how much he may desire victory, he can never sacrifice his humanity to attain it. Ryu promises that he will not.

Back in the present, Ryu wakes up and finds Ken caring for Sakura. Ken asks him what happened, and Ryu tells him that Akuma said to face him at the next Street Fighter tournament, when Ryu was worthy of him. Ken starts proclaiming that Akuma just got lucky, but Ryu cuts him off, saying that neither of them were a match for Akuma.

Ryu says that he can't risk getting caught up in whatever is going on between Bison and Interpol, he must travel the world, searching for a way to defeat Akuma. Ken says that he will be right there with him, every step of the way.

Later, Ken goes to Eliza to tell her he has to leave on a training mission for several months. Eliza says she promised herself she would never do this, and then asks Ken not to go, and that there's something else she has to tell him...

Minutes later, Ken meets Ryu on the rooftop of the hospital, and tells Ryu that he's sorry, but that he can't go, because Eliza is pregnant.

"Maybe Akuma was right about me." Ken says, telling Ryu that the last thoughts he had before losing consciousness during their fight with the dark warrior, were whether he'd ever see Eliza again.

Ryu points out that he may be more complete as a fighter, because he has someone to fight for. Ken says he's just sorry Ryu has to go alone.

Which is Sakura's cue to show herself. Despite Ryu's protests that he is just a student himself, not a teacher, Sakura insists, telling him that since he saved her life, he's responisble for it, and therefore has to train her.

Meanwhile outside the British Embassy in Rome, the newly reborn Cammy wakes up on a public bench. Rose, in her chambers, watches several of the World Warriors through her cards, including Ryu. Ryu stands before his masters grave and promises not to forget his vow to avenge him, and than he and Sakura head out on their journey.



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