Once again, let’s screw it all up


I give big kudos to Moonstone Books for continuing to bring the adventures of Buckaroo Banzai to the four color world, where fans can lap up the fun and kick assishness that is Team Banzai.  It’s just too bad the company keeps crapping his origin time, and time again.

buckaroooriginscover.jpgDon’t get me wrong, Buckaroo Banzai: Origins is an interesting story, but as the opening credits to the movie have clearly spelled out for over 25 years, BOTH of Buckaroo’s parents were killed in 1955 when Hanoi Xan sabotaged the early Banzai Jet Car.  It was their college Toichi Hikita who raised Buckaroo, not his mother, yet this is the second comic series we’ve seen that keeps Buckaroo’s mother alive to help raise her son.

What makes this even more troubling is both Earl Mac Rauch and WD Richter – the brains behind the original movie – are the ones writing these stories.  Granted, the duo could be thinking this is a chance to reboot the Banzai franchise and create a really deep history leading up to Across the 8th Dimension.  That would be just fine, except the largest group of people who are going to read this comic are those who have seen (and love) the movie, which means there’s an instant disconnect between creator and fan.  And unfortunately, there’s no way to separate the two, which makes reviewing this origin story that much more difficult, as it means a rip in the fabric of space-time is about to happen.

This issue feature the death of Dr. Banzai as witness by his wife and son.  Following the funeral, there is an interesting subplot involving the Banzai ranch being heavily in debt as no one would insure the jet car experiment.  As mother Banzai tries to keep the creditors at bay, representatives of an unnamed foreign agent approaches with an offer to relieve the debt in exchange for taking Buckaroo under their wing.  The promise of having a world education and mystic training would seem like the deal of a lifetime, but the offer is turned down, as mother Banzai looks for another way of handling the situation.

Buckaroo thinks he has his own way of getting the debt forgiving by traveling into town to see the loan shark that holds the family debt.  The pawn broker is already in hot water, as he owns the debt to most of the rest of the small Texas town, and apparently the town folk are fed up with his brutish ways.  Buckaroo arrives on the scene with the pawn shop on fire.  In classic western cowboy serial fashion, Buckaroo rides his horse into the burning building, lassos the safe (and the pawn shop owner) and drag them to safety.

It is really interesting to see Buckaroo as a young lad in this story. He handles the death of his father quite differently than most children would, and his enthusiasm and ride’em cowboy attitude is a breath of fresh air in a story that reads more like a cross between Citizen Kane and A Fistful of Dollars.
By the issues end the pawn shop owner has seen the error of his ways, and sacrifices himself to save young Buckaroo from the foreign agent, who may or may not be Buckaroo’s great grandfather.  This was one of the more interesting aspects of the story, and since it is clear the writers intend to rewrite Buckaroo’s history, it is one i hope they are able to explore in a future issue or arc.

As a story by itself, Origins is a really good read and would earn 4 Stars easily.  The art is also really well done for an indie title, and Amin Amat deserves 4 Stars for delivering here.  But the fan boy in me, just can’t get away from the fact that the creators are retconning their own creation, and I have to dock the issue a full star because of this.  This brings the final score to a solid 3 Stars out of 5.



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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