Comic Picks By The Glick

New Lone Wolf and Cub vol. 2

October 14, 2014

What do you do with a kid who has spent all of his life (and twenty-eight volumes of manga) witnessing his dad cut down everyone he challenged, and who challenged him?  If you’re Satsuma samurai Togo Shigekata, you start training the boy to become a warrior worthy of his father.  Given the circumstances, it actually makes a certain amount sense in this series because how else would you have young Daigoro deal with everything he saw while growing up.  Better to train him on how to focus this trauma than let it destroy him after he becomes old enough to process it.  These were the most interesting moments in this volume and further help this series distinguish itself from its predecessor.  Some more direct scenes involving the iconic baby cart of the title do the same in a visually distinct manner later on.

My main complaint from the first volume still remains, however.  The villainous plot that Shigekata unknowingly finds himself embroiled in still doesn’t feel all that involving.  Some steps are taken to give the samurai a more personal investment in it, as his quest to deliver the missive of a dying man is called out during an interrogation as being the result of manipulation by the bad guys.  If Shigekata does succeed in being manipulated here, seeing how he deals with it could be interesting.  Meanwhile, we’re treated to the antics of a bald karate master and crossdressing ninja as they try to separate the new “Lone Wolf” from his “Cub.”  While it’s interesting to observe the battle of wills that takes place between the karate master and Daigoro, I’m hoping to see more action from the ninja because she just winds up being needlessly sexualized here.  It’s an unflattering (but not unexpected -- this is manga written by Kazuo Koike after all) move that sticks out amongst some otherwise beautiful art from Hideki Mori.  Even if “New Lone Wolf and Cub” has yet to justify its existence, it at least manages to be decently readable in the meantime.

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