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Review: Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1

Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1

Growing up, there was glimpses of manga and anime but it wasn’t until high school I really paid attention. Even then, my exposure was much of the classics of the time over and over. Space Pirate Captain Harlock isn’t something I remember the specifics of, but I know I’ve seen glimpses of it. Interestingly, it blends together for me with Robotech and Macross, and I couldn’t say why. So, walking into Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1 I recognized the characters and design but have no idea why.

For those not familiar, this comic series is set in the timeline of the original series. Planet Earth is threatened by the Mazon’s who have launched an attack on the planet. Unfortunately, its inhabitants have no idea. Captain Harlock however recognizes something is off and will make it his mission to save the world. A cold spell has hit the Earth and is only the beginning at the attack to come.

With a story by Leiji Matsumoto, Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1 doesn’t a decent job of catching up the readers. It goes through the key points that are needed to understand the characters, the world, and the situation that’s approaching. It does a very good job of that and by the time the comic really got into the story, I felt like I had a good idea of what was going on. For a comic set in the original timeline, it doesn’t leave new readers out. It also does a solid job of transitioning into the main story. In a way, the comic is split with half dedicated to catching up readers and the other getting to the point. Its balance is pretty solid and it does a good job as an introduction.

The art by Jérôme Alquié is fantastic. As I said, I knew the look of the characters. And, as I flipped through the pages my memories came back. I found myself uttering “that looks familiar” more and more. So, as far as picking up on the original designs, the comic clearly does a fantastic job. There’s also some interesting and dynamic page layouts. The comic has a pacing in the art that really fits the story and characters. It’s beautiful to look at and looks like the anime come to the page without falling into too many manga tropes.

Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1 is a good start. It feels more like a Free Comic Book Day prelude in a way with its split focus but it has me wanting to read the next issue. So, in that way, it’s a success. I can’t say how well it continues the original material but visually it feels like it nails the look. As someone who only remembers the property in hazy memories, this debut has me wanting to go back and watch the original source material while I wait for the second issue.

Story: Leiji Matsumoto Art: Jérôme Alquié
Story: 7.25 Art: 9.0 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Ablaze provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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