Haruka Takachiho, Fujihiko Hosono
Crusher Joe is the story of a group of space mercenaries,
known as crushers, led by Joe, who immediately comes across
as a dashing space cowboy. Set in the far-flung future (circa
2160), Joe and his crew take on jobs ranging from investigation
to rescue to protection services. The characters include:
the traditional hero Joe, who has look and feel of a variety
of old-school anime and manga heroes; Ricky, the peppy, (Batman
and) Robin-like sidekick without being corny; Alfin, the always-having-a-crush-on-Joe
female of the cast; and Talos, the Frankenstein-esque cyborg
of the team.
Artistically, Crusher Joe immediately illicits serious
nostalgia in it's style. Considering that the original printing
of this series of tales was circa 1979, the feeling is understandable.
While the bulk of the art is not over-detailed, like a Masamune
Shirow tome, it keeps a consistency that tells the swiftly
paced tales in a good way. When reading this, you won't help
but feel transported back to the old-school of manga and anime,
before it even thought about being mainstream. The characters
all carry their personality within the way they're illustrated.
To be honest, out of the characters, I found myself drawn
to the stoically cool Talos, who holds a monolithic presence,
even among the chaos.
Humor is littered through the series, not just in comments
but in the way characters react to each other. Numerous times,
the looks characters give each other in reaction offer up
a good chuckle.
The stories themselves are reminiscent of the old Buck Rogers/space
cowboy flair. There are twists and turns and the events themselves
move at a quick pace. There's no stopping for some introspective
internal dialog. When you read Crusher Joe, you get action
and general space swashbuckling with enough twists to keep
the plots from feeling formulaic. On the downside, character
development is at a fair minimum.
On the whole, Crusher Joe is a good shot of nostalgia
for those who still enjoy watching Robotech,
Spaceketeers and Star Blazers. If you're spoiled
by modern manga, you might be taken aback by this volume.
Old-school fans should give this a read for the good time
that it provides.
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