reflection

A resounding success, Cowboy Bebop #2 sees Dan Watters and Lamar Mathurin craft a stellar adaptation of Watanabe's original anime.
Writing/Plot
Pencils/Inks
Colors
Letters

Review: COWBOY BEBOP #2 – Far Better Than It Has Any Right To Be

Writer Dan Watters and artist Lamar Mathurin return to hunting bounties across the solar system with Cowboy Bebop #2. Along with Roman Titov on colors and lettering from Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt, this 2nd chapter continues their stellar adaptation of Shinichiro Watanabe’s iconic anime. With a script that flows like jazz and stand-out stylized visuals, this issue solidifies this series as a must-read for Bebop fans everywhere.

“An original story set in the year 2171. The bounty hunter crew of the spaceship Bebop chase an ex-gang member who holds a vest which gives the wearer unlimited luck.”

Writing & Plot

Reading Cowboy Bebop #2, it becomes abundantly clear the love and understanding of the source material that Dan Watters has. I’m not embellishing at all when I say that both issues of this comic thus far have genuinely felt like Bebop episodes. From the ludicrous issue-specific plot point to the quiet interactions these characters all have, this feels like a lost chapter of the anime brought to life in a new medium. Here, the crew of the Bebop lands on Cyllene, a moon orbiting Jupiter that is also home to an abandoned colony effort. I won’t spoil why this planet was left alone, but the twist is just so classically Bebop. The planet also, in true Bebop form, presents our Jet, Faye, and Spike with specific dilemmas regarding their morality, their pasts, etc. Watters’ dialogue has that loose, stylistic feeling that reads just like scripts of the anime. Every character sounds and acts just like their anime counterparts, with little to no influence from the recent (deservedly cancelled) Netflix adaptation that this comic is technically based on. Everything from the deep, philosophical conversations presented by strangers, subtext-filled exchanges, and glances into the troubled visages of our main cast is spot-on with the original series and damn entertaining even without context.

Art Direction

What ultimately sets Cowboy Bebop #2 and the prior issue apart from the original work is the art of Lamar Mathurin. His uniquely stylized pencils and heavy inks craft a Bebop vison that will is familiar, but actively plays to its own tune. Characterizations are detailed and exaggerated, carrying the identity and swagger of the source material to new levels. The weight that each cast member carries (heh) can be seen in the expression Mathurin crafts in his scenes. The emotional gravity of the source material is alive and well in this comic. Mathurin’s work here carries huge amounts of tone and atmosphere, and creates a whole new way to experience this iconic post-Earth reality.

Roman Titov’s colors really bring this new yet familiar vision to life in a tonally rich way. His hazy, darkened use of a very used-future Cyberpunk-Western style echoes the original series while absolutely maintaining its own style. The lettering from Richard Starkings and Jimmy Betancourt plays it pretty safe in dialogue and narration balloons with a clean, modern font. Then it really surprises with creatively stylistic SFX letters, both blending into and sticking out just the right amount for this comic’s visual experience. Artistically, every aspect of this comic is absolute gold.

Verdict

Cowboy Bebop #2 is a stellar continuation of this comic adaptation of Shinichiro Watanabe’s legendary anime. Dan Watters’ script is fun, goofy, and almost musical in its composition, while also carrying the thematic and philosophical weight of the source material. The visuals from Lamar Mathurin and Roman Titov are brilliantly unique and convey the personality, atmosphere, and overall direction of this story in a stunning manner. This is a must-read for Bebop fans and newcomers alike. Be sure to grab this issue when it hits shelves on March 2nd!

Justin Munday
Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.
Review: COWBOY BEBOP #2 - Far Better Than It Has Any Right To BeA resounding success, Cowboy Bebop #2 sees Dan Watters and Lamar Mathurin craft a stellar adaptation of Watanabe's original anime.