Across the 7th Dimension?


Wow, I can’t believe it was August when I last looked upon the Buckaroo Banzai prequel from Moonstone Books.  In that time, I pretty much forget everything that happened in the first issue. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it gave me time to forget about the slips in continuity that comes from someone who hasn’t watched the source material 100,000 times since 1984.  Instead of a four or five issue mini-series, the prequel is wrapped up in two.  Too much?  Not enough?  Or have the halcyon days of the Hong Kong Cavaliers disappeared for good?

buckaroo2cover.jpgPreviously in Buckaroo Banzai: Buckaroo’s rock star popularity was causing his scientific work to slip, thus the ingenious idea to hire someone who looked and acted exactly like Buckaroo was created.  While the impersonator went on tour, and got really really fat, Buckaroo was able to go off to complete the work on his Oscillation Overthruster.  It’s too bad Hanoi Xan’s forces were able to see through the ruse, and capture the hard rocking scientist, and his lovely girlfriend Peggy Priddy.

While Buckaroo is tied to a chair and tortured by one of Xan’s minions, Buckaroo is forced to listen to Peggy being tortured (presumably to death) somewhere off in the super villain compound.  The only way to save Peggy, and himself, is to finish the Oscillation Overthruster, which will allow Xan to cross over to the 8th dimension, and thus take over the world.

Wait.  Just freakin’ wait.  We’ve seen this exact same scene (torture by electrocution, girlfriend getting tortured in another room, demands for the Overthruster) in the very movie this issue proclaims to be the prequel for.  While repeating the same beats from the movie might work in the Back to the Future trilogy, it totally smacks of someone who is trying to fill space by ripping off from the source.  Seen it.  Been there.  Done that.  And it was done better in the movie, so it utterly fails here.

To be fair, Mac Rauch could be showing parallels with the twin sister gimmick, but in a series that has been in the works for at least 24 years, you’d think a better torture scene could have been thought up.

Buckaroo agrees to finish the work on the Overthruster, and in what seems to be another rip, this time from the Iron Man origin story, Buckaroo creates a smaller, less refined, able to fit in the mouth version of the Overthruster, all while holed up in a dungeon.  Suddenly, the Deus Ex Machina appears in the form of a Blue Blaze Irregular, who has infiltrated the Xan Clan, and with a mighty swing that might remind some of the Fastball Special (not me, I don’t read X-Men Comics), slams the hero into the wall, where he passes into… THE 7TH DIMENSION!  Well of course it is the 7th dimension, Buckaroo isn’t going that fast, and his Overthruster is really small, but for some reason, we never heard Peggy complaining about it.

Can you guess what happens next?  Yup, Buckaroo escapes, frees a bunch of prisoners, who rise up against their captors, The Hong Kong Cavaliers arrive to haul the good guys out, but Peggy is missing – presumably dead.  To top things off, some of the good guys die, fortunately they’re red-shirts, so no one should really give a crap about them, and that bloated impersonator dies from eating a meatball sandwich.

The two-issue series isn’t written by WD Richter, although he is the consultant on the story, which makes this issue so much more disappointing.  Gaffs in the continuity between this prequel and the movie, events “inspired” by other sources, and heavy handed inking on the art, really bring this issue down.  It’s true, you can’t capture lighting in a bottle twice, and found memories can easily be destroyed by simple mishandling.  I had high hopes for this issue, as I’m a super huge fan of all things Buckaroo, but ultimately Buckaroo Banzai: The Prequel #2 only earns 1 Star.




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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