The American release of Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Volume One is a hardcover manga that contains the first two Japanese volumes. In fact, this release even includes the original color pages. The manga starts with small horror themes. The book introduces us to the mask by showing us an ancient Aztec society that grew extremely powerful by harnessing the mask’s power.
The manga does a great job providing the room for the conflict between Dio Brando and Jojo’s family. Despite the fact that it started a little slow, I am glad that the writers took their time in order to show us where it all began. It is a great way for new fans to start their own bizarre adventure. In addition, it is a nice addition to the collections of old fans.
Dio’s father came across Jonathan’s father one night when he found a crashed wagon. He noticed the quality of the wagon and began searching for items to steal. He never realized there were survivors. When Jonathan’s father awoke, the man pretended to be the rescuer. Because of this, Jonathan’s father believes he owes the Brando family his life. His father’s dying request was for the Joestar family to take care of his only child.
This is where Dio finally meets the Joestar family. While one would like to believe that all would be well, that is hardly the case. Dio begins his plan to steal the family fortune the moment he arrives. He spends years perfecting his plan. During this time, he does his best to make Jonathan Joestar’s life a living hell. Things eventually become much more serious than the events of two simple boys having small arguments do. Horrible things are done to Jonathan and to the people around him. He is eventually alienated from his family and friends. It is obvious that Dio Brando is trying to take his place as the Joestar son. Their childhood together gives us a small glimpse into Dio’s true nature.
Everything is taken a step further with the mysterious mask, even though the two boys do not know much about it. Both of the boys are fascinated with the mask. Neither of them find out about its true potential until the last half of the volume. However, once they do, their destinies are changed forever.
Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure Volume One is not completely full of action and adventure like old fans are used to. In fact, this volume focuses more on the story. It builds up the characters and the suspense quite nicely. There are even a few horror or thriller elements to the story. This is especially the case when the mask becomes involved. However, Dio Brando’s character does remind me of various serial killers with only one mission: to destroy.
The back of the manga includes a small section in which Araki discusses how hard it was for him to create the very first Joestar character. I could tell how difficult it was while I was reading the manga. Jonathan Joestar was originally only there to compliment the pure evil of Dio’s personality. Jonathan was the light to Dio’s darkness. He also talks about the inspiration for the way he drew their bodies. I loved the animation style, even though it was a bit odd. There were times when certain body parts were not proportionate during various action scenes but it added charm. The animation style made the action scenes more fun than they would have been otherwise. The buildup was intense and when everything finally came together, I could feel my heart racing as if I were a part of the events that were unfolding.
Even though volume one of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure started a little slow, it did not take long for me to become hooked. Jonathan Joestar’s character eventually grew enough to become more interesting and more resilient. I did love the fact that he never gave up, despite what his current circumstances were. Araki managed to create the perfect conflict between the two main characters. I cannot wait until the next volume. I am hoping we get to see more of the mask in action.