Title: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood
Author: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Viz Media (Shonen Jump Advanced)
Volume: Volume 3, $19.99 (HC)
Vintage: 1988 by Shueisha, August 2015 by Viz Media
Genre: Action, adventure
The fight continues against the immortal Dio and his resurrected knights. Centuries ago, the Dark Knight Blueford and Tarukus trained in Wind Knights Lot. Wind Knights Lot is no ordinary training ground, but a large complex that put warriors through grueling, deadly battles. Blueford and Tarukus are two of the five who ever managed to complete the trial. Now JoJo must defeat them to get to Dio. The massive Tarukus blocks Zeppeli and Speedwagon from coming to JoJo’s aid, who is forced to face Blueford and his dangerous head of hair. It takes a bit of luck and an incredible amount of skill, but JoJo holds his own. He even manages to garner respect from Blueford, who in turn ups his own game for the ultimate battle. Eventually, using his hamon attacks, JoJo breaks through Dio’s control over the knight and restores his soul, bringing him peace. That still leaves Tarukus, and he’s far less noble than Blueford ever was. During a brief escape attempt, Zeppeli recounts his own training in the way of hamon – his quest for the evil mask, his journey to find Master Tonpetty, and his years of training. Master Tonpetty also passed on a prophecy surrounding Zeppeli’s death, though he keeps that to himself, even as the events of that prophecy start to unfold. Tarukus chases everyone toward a battle chamber, and he and JoJo face off in the Chain Neck Death Match. With the others locked out of the room, things are looking bad for JoJo, until a pint-sized travel companion slips inside to allow the others entrance. Zeppeli, realizing his time has come, puts everything he has into assisting JoJo, including the remainder of his own life energy. With this added power, JoJo is able to defeat Tarukus, but there’s still work to be done. The nearby village has been overrun with zombies. Assisting JoJo this time are old friends of Zeppeli – Master Tonpetty himself, along with his disciples, Dire and Straizo. Dire is the first to face Dio, but, unaware of Dio’s true strength and abilities, he quickly falls. JoJo then steps forward for his revenge, while Tonpetty and Straizo hold off the minions. Learning on his feet, JoJo develops some new tricks to deal with Dio, and the man is finally, literally, punched to dust. With Dio gone and the mask destroyed, JoJo is free to resume his normal life, and starts by finally marrying his childhood sweetheart, Erina Pendleton. Unfortunately, what should be a happy ending is brought to a brutal, bloody end instead.
I think I enjoyed the first two volumes of this series I read more than this one. Possibly the novelty has worn off, and now I’m left reading a truly outrageous and over-the-top male fantasy. It has its moments, certainly. I’m still a fan of Zeppeli, and it’s sad to see him go. The next volume and story arc will shift to follow JoJo’s grandson, so the time will skip and the cast will change somewhat. That means saying goodbye to a chunk of the current cast, including Jonathan “JoJo” Joestar, Baron Zeppeli, and Dio. JoJo and Dio go out in a literal blaze, while Zeppeli appropriately gives his life toward the destruction of the evil stone mask (what he’s been attempting for nearly his entire life). The deceptive, near fairy tale, happy ending certainly does its job lulling the reader into a false sense of security. Just as JoJo is convinced he can finally start the next, happy chapter of his life. Other than that, expect lots of muscles, lots of gore, plenty of epic fighting, and a whole lot of “I, Dio-.” The dialog is laughable at times, but then so are the absurdly muscled character designs. The latter is part of the series’ charm, such as it is; I’m not sure about the dialog. It’s certainly painfully dated. There’s not much plot in this volume, it’s almost entirely fight after limb-rending fight, and that may be the cause of my disinterest this time around. It’s incredibly detailed action, but it’s still wall-to-wall action, which isn’t my cup of tea. Perfect for old school action fans, though.
Review copy provided by Viz Media.