3, 2, 1, Let's Jam!
"Cowboy Bebop" has become a staple in the libraries of many who enjoy animation, jazz music, crime noir, and science fiction. When I found out that the TV series had a set of manga stories that were based on the adventures of Spike, Jet, Faye, Ed and Ein, I was excited to see the crew of the Bebop do some bounty hunting inside of panels instead of on the screen. However, I was more than a little disappointed.
The manga doesn't have a clear timeline of when the stories take place exactly, though it's obvious it's before *spoilers* Ed leaves the ship to live on Earth again and before Spike's final encounter with Vicious and the Syndicate. The stories themselves, sadly, are a little lackluster. Though "Cowboy Bebop" had always had a good sense of humor about what was going on, the manga seems to try to make the series more comedy than crime noir, which takes some of the flair away from it. I have to say that I also missed the rockin' jazz soundtrack by Yoko Kanno and the darker atmosphere that the animation gives off. Somehow, even though it was in black and white, the comics didn't really give the darker feeling that "Bebop" held in many of its episodes.
I did enjoy a story here or there, and there was a great little yarn about Spike breaking into prison to help a convict escape in order to claim a bounty on them. But as a whole it kind of fell flat.
If you really like the crew of the Bebop and want to see some more adventures with the most famous Cowboys this side of Mars, then by all means, give it a read. For others, it's worth a pass, just watch the already critically acclaimed series and tap your feet to the kick ass soundtrack.