Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure, Part 1: Phantom Blood, Vol 2

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1, Phantom Blood, Volume 2 by Hirohiko Araki

I enjoyed the first volume of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, and I was looking forward to see if the second volume continued with the unrelenting manliness and general crazy action. I wasn’t disappointed.

The second volume continues with the battle between Jonathan Joestar and Dio, who has completely been taken over by the evil stone mask. Dio can suck the life force out of people to heal his wounds, and the corpses become zombies, which can certainly be a problem for anyone trying to take Dio down. Jonathan is determined to destroy the monster who killed his father, and fights back through impossible odds, burning down his own mansion and fighting through the pain as Dio breaks both his arms. I continue to be delighted by the character of Robert Edward O. Speedwagon, mostly because I find it amusing when Jonathan yells “Get out of the way Speedwagon!” during battle. Also, Speedwagon’s tendency to stay on the sidelines while injured allows him to provide running commentary on all the battles.

With the Joestar mansion being burned down, and Dio both impaled on a statue and crushed beneath a pillar, one might think that Jonathan’s battle was done, but this is not the case. He meets his long-lost love Erina again as she tends his wounds, and once he is somewhat healed he meets a strange mentor named Baron Zeppeli, who decides to teach Jonathan the ways of mastering Hamon energy to become even more powerful.

In the meantime, Dio has pulled himself out of the wreckage and continue to grow more and more powerful, aided by some additional evil allies. Jonathan and Zeppeli go to confront Dio, but will his vampirific power overcome their new martial arts discipline?

It is a bit unusual for me to be truly surprised by action scenes in a manga, but JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure really does deliver on this front, with surprising plot twists and innovative ways for everybody to power up. The stakes grow higher and the battles grow more impressive as both Jonathan and Dio gain power. The art is still a bit on the crude side, but undeniably energetic. Some of the fights take place against the backdrop of a low-hanging moon, which just makes everything look even more epic. What random character named after a rock band will appear next? I’m looking forward to the third volume to find out.

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