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Buckaroo Banzai #3

Posted: Saturday, November 25, 2006
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Mac Rauch, Joe Gentile
Artists: Stephen Thompson(p), Keith Williams(i), Ken Wolak with Wally Lowe(c)
Publisher: Moonstone

It took twenty long years, but the second Buckaroo Banzai adventure has reached a successful conclusion. I don't even consider it canon, but I'm glad I had the chance to read it. Mac Rauch and Joe Gentile transfused the spirit of Buckaroo Banzai to the story and Stephen Thompson and Keith Williams kept the likenesses of the actors we know and love from the movie as the models for the characters.

Buckaroo Banzai isn't for every reader. It's for the fans of the movie and probably those who as kids giddily dived into the vast multiverse of the pre-Crisis DC and those willing to explore the multi-tiered world of Doctor Who. Like the movie, the comic book sequel takes a fistful of tee-shirt and carries the reader into a teeming already established universe. It doesn't care whether or not you are familiar with it. It's up to you to keep up with what's going on. It's not going to stop and explain.

The plot can be reduced to a simple summary. Lizardo, resurrected from his definite death in the original movie, wants to get off "this a god-forsaken a rock full of a monkey-boys." He and the surviving black Lectroids have hatched a scheme to collude with the World Crime League that turns the earth into a cosmic truck, which they intend to steer home. "Home. Home is a where you wear your hat." Fear not, gentle readers, for Buckaroo Banzai and the Hong Kong Cavaliers are here to stop him.

There is a lot more to be said about the plot. Complications arise in the form of Lizardo infiltrating Buck's tour bus to kill his wife and his spawn. A psychological sledge hammer comes down on Buck in the form of the Arch Bishop, who killed his wife. Artist Thompson and Williams sometimes produce crowded, very cramped panels, but they masterfully use what little space they have to depict Buck's reaction to finding out the Arch Bishop still lives.

Lizardo gains a small victory by moving the earth out of orbit and sculpting the moon to reflect a more "handsome" personage. By the end of the book, Buck has reversed this course. He uses technology and psychology, to include everybody on the planet in on the heroics.

In addition to the whacked-out plot, Mac Rauch and Joe Gentile spotlight the characters. Buckaroo's charisma becomes integral in the conclusion. Tommy's bravado and lack of thought makes for an exciting climax. These facets of the outwardly shallow adventurer offer the reader a nice contrast to his piggish behavior. Introduced in the comic book as a Tommy's natural foil, Monk to Tommy's Ham, Lady Gillette reacts perfectly, and the writers make it easy to see why Buck offered her a place among the Cavaliers. Newcomer Happy Weiner, with an honorable history and a crack-shot, makes a memorable impression. Lizardo's wife and stalwarts like Mrs. Johnson enjoy spotlight moments that integrate to the plot and move it forward.

We can't have another movie. We can't have a television series. Moonstone however has given Buckaroo Banzai new life in the comics. Sayonara for now, Buck.



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