Review: Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Publisher: Ablaze Publishing
Based on the work of: Leiji Matsumoto
Writer & Artist: Jerome Alquie
Reviewed by: Joshua Raynor
From the legendary Leiji Matsumoto, along with Jerome Alquie, comes an epic new story! Set within the timeline of the original series, this brand-new Captain Harlock adventure marks the beginning of a new story arc. Planet Earth is threatened by an upcoming invasion by the Sylvidres and despite being banished as a pirate, Captain Harlock won’t give up trying to save the world. This time, the source of danger comes directly from Earth, not outer space. A team of scientists discovers a Sylvidres mausoleum where they find information about terrifying genetic manipulations and a destructive power capable of either providing the Sylvidres with immortality or putting an end to their civilization. The unprecedented cold spell hitting Earth might only be a taste of what this new enemy has in store…
Will Captain Harlock and his crew manage to solve this mystery and save the Earth from yet another menace?
I’d like to preface this review by saying I had no prior knowledge of the previous Captain Harlock series or the movie, so I went into this book with a completely blank slate, and I have to say, Jerome Alquie did a fantastic job of introducing these colorful characters and building this world we are traveling through in such a wonderful way. I never once felt confused or like I was missing something.
From the opening pages, we are graced with the gorgeous artwork detailing this expansive world. We get to see the impressive ship belonging to Captain Harlock, The Arcadia, complete with tattered pirate flag. We then get a history lesson about the return of the Mazon, a race of beings who once inhabited Earth, long before humans. To help them find Earth, they sent a huge black space ball, which crashed into the capitol and awoke the sleeping Mazon here on Earth.
To some, that would sound like an invasion, which it is, but others, especially some of those in powerful positions, thought nothing of it, either out of ignorance, corruption, or ineptitude. We discover that anyone who got too close to learning the truth wound up dead, including the father of one of Harlock’s crewmates.
And speaking of Captain Harlock, he has this allure of mystery surrounding him, and I love the high-tech swashbuckler vibe. The fact that the book is titled Space Pirate Captain Harlock is one of the main reasons I decided to check it out. With a few alterations, he could absolutely fit within an Earthbound pirate adventure. He’s got a cool look to him, and he’s pretty bada** to boot.
Positives – Artwork
At the beginning of this review, I said that from the opening pages the artwork was gorgeous, and I meant it. Some of my favorite parts of this book are the beautiful, sweeping landscapes and backgrounds, whether it be the vastness of space or a frozen tundra. It’s a world I can’t wait to see more of.
My first issue with Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1 (which isn’t really even that big of an issue) was some of the character designs. They just felt out of place to me. This is probably due to the fact that I don’t really read or watch much anime at all, and this book is definitely done in that style. Certain characters’ looks took me out of it at times, but it wasn’t often. And, as I said, it isn’t a big issue since the story itself was great, and as long as the story is great, and the art isn’t atrocious, I can overlook minor aspects that may not quite work for me.
My other issue had to do with Captain Harlock, himself. One thing I didn’t quite understand about Harlock were some of his decision-making choices, like dumping a huge score out into space. I understand that he wanted to get to Earth to find Mayu, but are you telling me they couldn’t have just loaded that cargo and THEN gone to Earth? That was a massive score. Hell, even Yuki Kei said this. He literally jettisoned crates of jewels! Not very pirate-like, if you ask me.
Space Pirate Captain Harlock #1 did a fantastic job of setting up this world and these characters in such a way that has me locked in to what comes next. A swashbuckling space epic is just what I needed in my life, and I can’t recommend it enough!