gc8's Dragon Ball Free Comic Book Day 2013 Edition #1 - Bad Day at Turtle Rock; Act One: The Story Begins review

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For Free It's Worth It...

Rurouni Kenshini doesn't know whether it wants to be taken seriously or not
Rurouni Kenshini doesn't know whether it wants to be taken seriously or not

I'm not a huge fan of manga because when it's good it's very, very good, but the majority of what's out there isn't very good, and there is a TON of it out there - so as an overall percentage of output the good stuff is a very tiny slice of the pie.

Furthermore, I never really liked 'Dragonball Z'. I found the anime to be intolerably juvenile, and the same thing over-and-over. However, somehow Dragonball works a little better as a comic than as an anime - perhaps because the reader sets the pacing. Anyway, 'Bad Day at Turtle Rock' is a story about Goku and Kuririn, two students of Master Muten Roshi, who inscribes the kanji for 'turtle' on a rock then throws it off a cliff into a forest - whichever one finds and brings back the rock is the only one that gets dinner (yeah, Muten Roshi is kind of a d*ck). Goku pretty much cheats all the time and Kuririn is the 'straight man'. That's pretty much all there is to the story, but I guess that's O.K. in a comics-are-meant-to-be-disposable kind of way.

Flip the book over and start reading from the other side and you get Rurouni Kenshin: Restoration, a samurai story set after the Meiji Restoration.

I really wanted to like this - after reading the silliness of Dragonball, I was looking forward to some historical fiction. Unfortunately, Rurouni Kenshin is wildly inconsistent in tone. One minute it's very serious with weighty issues of evil landlords - the next it's goofy slipping into superdeformed style antics, and other times it's both - serious looking situations and art yet the protagonist getting bonked on the head with a katana with little but a bruise to show for it (perhaps it was supposed to be a wooden practice sword as it was in a staged competition, but still...).

Anyway, I can't really recommend either comic, though little kids might like Dragonball. I'm just glad this was free so I didn't spend any money on it.

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