Monday, February 24, 2020


Story by: Akira Toriyama | Art by: Toyotarou

The battle royale between all the Gods of Destruction of the twelve universes comes to a premature conclusion as volume 6 opens, when the two Zenos declare that the destroyers are moving too fast and are hard to watch. It is decided that gods will not be allowed to participate in the upcoming all-universe tournament -- but to prove that the tournament is still viable, the only two mortals present at the gathering, Goku and Universe 11's Top (called Toppo in Viz's translation, but I like Top better) are instructed to stage a quick exhibition match. And quick it is, as Top defeats Goku fairly easily even when the latter transforms into his Super Saiyan Blue form.

Let's pause for a moment here to discuss Top. He's presented quite differently in the manga than in the TV series. In the show, Top doesn't like Goku from the get-go, believing he's an evil scumbag for championing the tournament -- but in the manga, he seems more indifferent toward Goku, acknowledging that he's a decent fighter and telling him that he's a strange guy. Top also has a startling secret in the anime, revealed late in the tournament, as we learn that he's in training to become Universe 11's next God of Destruction! But that surprise, which was a genuinely exciting and shocking moment in the TV version, is neutered here as we're told up front about Top's destiny.

(I suspected that perhaps the manga revealed this early on because the anime had already spoiled it, but some quick release date research reveals that the episode with the revelation aired in January of 2018 in Japan, while the manga chapter that mentioned it was released in September of 2017... so I really have no idea why Toriyama and/or Toyotarou chose to do it this way.)

Friday, February 21, 2020


Just one single, solitary book this month, if you can believe it -- and it's not even digital for a change! Hot on the heels of last month's X-MEN: SHATTERSHOT, it's another hardcover starring Marvel's mighty mutants, from much later in the 1990s: the X-MEN VS. APOCALYPSE: THE TWELVE OMNIBUS. This volume is basically a compilation of several paperbacks that were released nigh-on a decade or more ago: X-MEN: THE SHATTERING, X-MEN VS. APOCALYPSE vol. 1, X-MEN VS. APOCALYPSE vol. 2, and X-MEN: POWERLESS. I never picked those books up at the time, however (though I do own them in digital format), so rather than an upgrade, this one is a new purchase for me.

And what a purchase it is! Though I haven't had much cause to talk about it here, I don't think I've made any secret of the fact that this era was one of my favorites for the X-Men. This book covers the majority of the period when Alan Davis served as plotter on both X-MEN and UNCANNY X-MEN throughout 1999. It was a period which brought back several plot points from earlier in the nineties (and even tied some of them up), but also felt somehow like a bit of a throwback to an earlier era. 1999 was probably the closest the X-Men of the nineties ever got to feeling like the X-Men of the late seventies, which was a great thing in my opinion.

So this is one I'm pleased to have on my shelf. I can't wait to read it, when Gentlemen of Leisure's X-aminations series gets to this era in a few more years. (And I know I say this a lot with no results to show for it, but I really do want to get my photo-reviews of the X-Men collected editions going again. I have no idea when it'll be, but it's still something on my to-do list!)

Monday, February 17, 2020


Story by: Akira Toriyama | Art by: Toyotarou

Continuing the precedent set in the previous volume, DRAGON BALL SUPER book 5 wraps up the Future Trunks/Goku Black storyline, but does so in a vastly different fashion that the TV show. In the anime, after Goku and Vegeta have both battled the merged Zamas, Trunks steps in to deal a crippling blow, slicing Zamas in half. The villain then begins to merge with the entire universe, and Goku summons the Lord of Everything, Zeno (more on that below), to finally wipe out Zamas. Zeno does so, destroying the entire universe in the process.

The manga follows the same basic outline, but instead of the halved Zamas somehow merging with the universe, he is reborn as two full version of himself. From that point forward, any time he's injured, the pieces re-spawn into a full-fledged Zamas. It's really creepy and, for me at least, sells the hopelessness of the situation better than the anime setup.

The manga and anime re-unify after Zamas is beaten -- Goku and Trunks bring Zeno home with them, then Whis suggests that Trunks and Mai use the time machine to return to the future to a point before Zamas attacked, where they enlist the aid of Beerus to kill him. The couple agrees, even though it means they will now co-exist alongside other version of themselves in the revised timeline. With that, Trunks and Mai depart and the saga ends.

Monday, February 10, 2020


Story by: Akira Toriyama | Art by: Toyotarou

Volume 3 of DRAGON BALL SUPER ended with a defeated Goku and Vegeta returning to the present day, with Trunks left behind in his future to hold off Goku Black. As volume 4 opens, Goku and Vegeta arrive and Bulma quickly explains the facts of interdimensional time travel in the DRAGON BALL world: since Trunks' time machine is "tied" to a parallel future, it is unable to return to the exact moment it left. However long passes in the present while the machine is refueled will also pass for Trunks in his time -- and it'll take a full day for Bulma to charge the machine up again.

Vegeta spends the day training in the Room of Spirit and Time (a.k.a. the "Hyperbolic Time Chamber" in FUNimatin's TV dubs -- a name I've never liked since it makes the place sound more scientific than magical), while Goku goes to Master Roshi to learn the Mafuba technique, an ability Roshi used many years ago against the Demon King Piccolo. Basically Mafuba will seal any evil being away, so long as the proper kanji is somehow applied to whatever vessel the villain is forced into. Since future Zamas is immortal, Goku realizes Mafuba may be the only chance to beat him.

(By the way, I love the callback to the Mafuba technique (known as the "Evil Containment Wave" via FUNimation) -- as I've mentioned before, original DRAGON BALL is my favorite part of the entire DB/Z story, so anything that references it this directly is A-okay by me.)

Monday, February 3, 2020


Story by: Akira Toriyama | Art by: Toyotarou

As noted last week, we begin our look at DRAGON BALL SUPER volume 3 with a quick summary of the final few chapters from volume 2, which set up this book's main storyline.

A major story arc in the original DRAGON BALL manga (and it's DRAGON BALL Z television adaptation) was the "Cell saga", in which Trunks, son of Vegeta and Bulma from the future, returned to the present day to battle some androids alongside Goku and friends. As DB SUPER volume 2 closes out, we return to Trunks' future to find that a new threat has appeared, and he wears a familiar face: Goku, dressed all in black, is now a bad guy bent on ruling the world. He battles Trunks, kills Bulma (off-page), and apparently kills Trunks' love, Mai (the future/adult version of Emperor Pilaf's henchgirl, who you may recall has been inexplicably reverted to childhood along with Pilaf and their other pal, Shuu, in these pages). So Trunks climbs back into the old time machine and returns once more to the present, seeking help.

Which brings us to volume 3: Trunks tells the present-day heroes about "Goku Black", then following a bit of investigation to determine where the villain came from, Vegeta and Goku return to the future with Trunks to aid him.