Lesley Aeschliman

Manga Review: JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3

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JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 is set in the 1800s and continues the story of Jonathan Joestar (who goes by JoJo) and his conflicts with Dio Brando. Dio gets a hold of a stone mask that’s an ancient artifact of the Aztecs and is now attempting to take over the world.

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 - Phantom Blood Volume 3

JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 — Phantom Blood Volume 3

Written by: Hirohiko Araki
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: August 4, 2015

Volume 3 picks up in the middle of a fight between JoJo’s group and the two knights that Dio has sent to destroy them. Much of the first half of this volume focuses on the fight sequences, so there are plenty of panels that focus on the action and not as much on dialogue. However, there are moments during these fight sequences where text is included to provide some exposition so the reader can understand what’s going on.

At one point during the fighting, this volume provides a flashback with some backstory for Will A. Zeppeli. This flashback provides important information that explains something that Zeppeli does during the battle, and it also introduces a character who appears later on in this volume.

After JoJo’s group makes it past the battle with the knights the story moves on to the final confrontation between JoJo and Dio.  As one would expect from an action manga like this, the final battle is epic and escalates until the protagonist finds a way to get the upper hand. Of course, with the escalation comes several instances where it looks like JoJo has won, but then Dio does something to try to turn things around.

Near the end of this volume, it looks like JoJo will finally see a happy ending after everything he’s gone through with Dio since Volume 1. Unfortunately, there’s a last instance of chaos that rocks the story and the ending isn’t as happy as the reader had hoped for. However, with this ending, the stage is set for Part 2 of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure.

In addition to fighting and action, JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure also incorporates musical references in the characters’ names. In this arc, there are references to REO Speedwagon, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin, Poco, Dire Straits, Wang Chung, Doobie Brothers, Bryan Adams, Yes, and Emerson, Lake & Palmer. I picked up on some of these references right away, while others I found out about after doing some research. But for readers who have a fondness for music, they’ll either appreciate the homages or groan at them.

When it comes to the art in JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3, Araki utilizes a lot of detail. This also includes the many action and fight scenes that take place in this volume. And VIZ Media’s presentation helps the art look crisp and clear, and in some cases, the art almost looks as if it might jump right off the page. Araki’s art style is very engaging and pulls the reader in.

So JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Part 1 – Phantom Blood Volume 3 brings the “Phantom Blood” arc to an end.  While it may not have contained a happy ending, I think readers who have followed the story through the previous two volumes will still appreciate all the action and plot developments that take place here. I believe that fans of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure will not be disappointed in what they see.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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