Mangaka: Hirohiko Araki
Translation: Nathan A Collins
Touch-up Art & Lettering: Mark McMurray
Publisher: VIZ Media
WHAT IS IT?
The story of the Joestar's lineage finally makes it to the 20th century with the tale of Dio Brando's son in Naples Italy: Giorno Giovanna!
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind VOL. 1 (Golden Wind VOL.1 from here on out) is hard to compare to other pieces of media, as it's literally the grandfather of a lot of work. You can see references and inspirations everywhere because of the series, and Golden Wind VOL.1 continues this trend.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Jotaro Kujo sends Koichi Hirose on a mission in Naples, Italy, to get a skin sample of whom he believes to be Dio Brando's son, who was conceived when Dio possessed Jotaro's ancestor (Jonathan Joestar's) body. Bizarre, huh?
Yet, once Koichi finds him, he goes by a different hairstyle, and name – Giorno Giovanna. Not only does Koichi find a different Giorno than expected, but he also learns that he as well has a "stand" - the easiest explanation is to think of a ghost with powers that only other "stand users" can see. Yet, Koichi loses track of him and we quickly learn more about Giorno.
Giorno is a 15-year-old high-schooler who dreams of becoming a mafia boss so he can rid Naples of the drug trafficking that affects its residents, especially the younger kids. But to do this, he needs the help of Bruno Bucciarati who, as a member of the Passione, sets him up with a test to join them. Yet through this all, Giorno and the readers learn more about his past and the powers of stands.
Plus, there are unique characters, interesting fights, and per usual, the ever famous JoJo Poses!
Even after so many chapters/volumes, Araki's writing still feels fresh and interesting. He is able to come up with great new stand powers/names, all while making the main plot something "simple" and achieving it in a unique and fun way.
Araki has always excelled at character introductions and showcasing what kind of character they are in just the first encounter. This continues here, especially so with Bruno.
We aren't introduced to a vast amount of characters, but each character's attitude is so different, you can tell who it is even if you don't see them. This rings even more true with the designs.
Everything between the characters and the cityscape has an amazing look and atmosphere that makes you instantly recognize that this is a JoJo title.
With his new design/art style, Araki is able to create even more interesting dynamic fights that can feel chaotic, but are fun and interesting to read, while at the same time being easy to understand.
Not only are the fights more dynamic, but Araki seems to play a little bit more with the panels, making them into interesting shapes, sizes, and engaging to read.
Araki has a great sense of when to be highly detailed, or drop details to make the moment hit that much harder. This can be seen when a character has a dramatic line, or something meant to hit hard and he clears the background making sure you only focus on the character.
During the double-page spreads, there's extra gutter space in the spine so the pages line up better to make the double-page look amazing. Araki also avoids putting dialogue in the middle, which is sadly a design problem that often gets overlooked in these large spreads.
The previous JoJo series HC's have been fantastic and Viz continues this trend. The back and front cover design by Adam Grano is phenomenal, plus the design for the endpapers is just as gorgeous.
McMurray's touch-up work for their lettering is phenomenal. In general, touch-up work can be hard to accomplish, but when you have Araki's work which can be chaotic, busy, design-heavy, and just hard to get around, it's much harder to make it look clean, yet McMurray does a great job with it despite the challenge.
Some keywords - such as Dio - keep the original Kanji, and although it may not seem like much, it's a damn cool thing to leave in. Plus, the original Japanese sound effects are left in throughout the pages with their translations accompanying them.
Collins did the Translation work for the previous series (Diamond is Unbreakable) and in Golden Winds VOL.1 he continues to keep up the great work, with nothing seeming off or not making sense with the translations.
Memorable Quote: "I am Giorno Giovanna and I have a dream. In my heart, I believe it is just." - Giorno. This line and the actions around it perfectly showcase his character.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
This could've only been an issue with my copy (hopefully so). But, there are multiple printing problems. On a few pages, there are heavy black lines obscuring the art like the printing ink got messed up coming out. During multiple other instances, the art bleeds through to the page on the back of said page. Finally, some pages have faint bleed from the page opposite of them, as if you took two freshly painted newspapers and smooshed them together and the ink rubbed off on the other page.
JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is either a series you love or hate. It can be "bizarre," hard to follow, stuff can happen completely out of the left field, or just not to one's liking. These and other instances that pop up may make it so some aren't fans of Golden Wind VOL.1.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Jojo's Bizzare Adventure has been in publication since 1987 and in the last few years, the fandom has grown extensively, especially more so in America with Viz's manga releases and the amazing Anime. That said, Golden Wind VOL. 1 may be the easiest jumping-on point (as of now) for those that don't want to go through the 20+ other volumes. That said, you absolutely should read the manga that preceded it.
All of that aside, why wouldn't you want to read JoJo's Bizarre Adventure? Not only is the series phenomenal, but so many other pieces of media references it. It'd be like watching Metropolis and realizing that, as well as being truly great, it was the source of inspiration for all your other favorite stories and changed the medium's future. Give it a read if only to grasp how significant this book is in the comic book/manga world!
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