Jet car on the cover, no jet car inside – portents of doom?


Buckaroo Banzai is closing in on the world crime league, unfortunately, he and the rest of the Hong Kong Cavaliers will have to go through an army of bionic powered people and genetically modified rats to do it.  Sounds like another day in the life of the hard rocking scientist.

buckarooCOVER.jpgSurprisingly, readers won’t see Buckaroo or the rest of his crew appear in this issue until  the halfway point, and then there are only a few pages left in the issue as everything comes crashing down.  Instead, the issue follows Lady G – not to be confused with Lady Gaga thankfully, who arrives in New York City looking for fame and fortune as an actress, but instead finds her calling as a brawler for money.  She’s pretty good at it too, and eventually catches the eye of the Deathhead, a group of fighters that represent the hardest of the hard, hence the title of the series.

Through a series of injections from Dr. Longfeller (really Hanoi Xan in disguise) Lady G begins to transform into something not quite human, and not quite animal, as she grows hair over her entire body, complete with whiskers and pointed ears.  Her final transformation into a Deadhead results from Dr. Longfeller removing her human heart (replacing it with a baboons), and implanting various cybernetic devices on her body.  It’s not really clear how she escapes her captors, but she winds up in the river where she’s rescued by Perfect Tommy.

This then leads to all the bad things done to Lady G being undone by Banzai and his team and the assault on the floating barge of Hanoi Xan, which doesn’t sound as impressive as it should for a secret strong hold, and considering the floating barge is a barge of garbage, one wonders just how powerful Xan and his world crime league really are.

As big a fan of Buckaroo Banzai that I am, and knowing that Earl Mac Rauch can write a solid Banzai story, I’m really surprised at how jumpy the story is.  There is a nice transition that flashbacks to the origin story of Lady G, and the dialogue is written really well, but the execution in comic form comes off rather jarring.  There is a great deal of flowery dialogue from Buckaroo, but it works in this issue as you can tell he’s a hit with the ladies, even when those ladies are sprouting cat’s whiskers and are in dire need of a flee dip.

Even though Buckaroo stories tend to be ride on the wild side of science, the introduction of cyberneticly enhanced furries running around killing one another just seems a bit far out, even in a world where Buckaroo is developing a watermelon that can be dropped from great heights without being damaged.  For whatever reason, I just didn’t buy it.  Aliens from the 8th Dimension I can understand, but cat people with guns bolted where arms should be takes me completely out of the story.

I’ve complained before about the art used in the various Buckaroo titles put out by Moonstone Books, and while this issue doesn’t feature any spectacular pen and pencil work, this is the first time I’ve seen Buckaroo actually look like Peter Weller.  In fact, Shawn Van Briesen nailed the likenesses of Perfect Tommy, and The Reno Kid, it’s just unfortunate there are so many panels in the issue where the facial features of the rest of the characters seems off; a nose out of whack here, perspective of the head off kilter there, an so on.

Those who have a mad desire to continue the adventures of Buckaroo Banzai are certainly going to find it in the pages of the Buckaroo series from Moonstone Books.  The best thing is these series are written and influenced by the original creators of the movie, but sadly they just don’t live up to their celluloid predecessor.  There’s nothing absolutely horrible about the first installment of Hardest of the Hard, but there’s also nothing absolutely terrific about this issue either.  Banzai fans will certainly get their fill, and it is somewhat satisfying, earning 2.5 out of 5 Stars.



About Author

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment. You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...


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