JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Vol. 1

By Hirohiko Araki. Released in Japan as “Jojo no Kimyou na Bouken” by Shueisha, serialized in the magazine Weekly Shonen Jump. Released in North America by Viz Media. Translated by Evan Galloway, original translation and adaptation by Alexis Kirsch and Fred Burke.

Though this is the third arc in the JoJo’s series, it was actually the first released in North America, as Viz released it on its own in 2005. I never read it, mostly as it was the 3rd part of a series, and from what I hear its sales were no great shakes. But now JoJo’s is becoming more of a phenomenon, and the hardcovers seem to be doing OK, and so thankfully we get to read this somewhat in context, as we are introduced to Joseph Joestar’s grandson, Jotaro Kujo, his somewhat airheaded mother, Holly (she must get it from her own mother), and another epic quest, as Dio has returned from the dead to stir up trouble, kill off a few helpless victims, and make life miserable for the Joestars. And so the stage is set for an epic battle. Sadly, the first volume of said epic battle mostly falls flat for me.


Jotaro is Japanese, unlike his English great-great grandfather or American grandfather, and shows it off by taking on the staple of 80s manga destined never to be licensed here, the delinquent uniform, complete with peaked cap that is worn slightly off-kilter. Unlike his overearnest/cocky (delete where applicable) ancestors, Jotaro is mostly stoic and cool, which is nice but makes him a lot more of a flat character than his predecessors. Thankfully, Joseph is here, albeit mellowed, and we get a few of the classic JoJo’s types – the mentor and friend, the villain turned good guy, the smug asshole minor villains, and the piles of cannon fodder that lead to many sort-of deaths. (The deaths are not as numerous as you’d expect – the school nurse who is possessed by evil literally has her head ripped off, but should be fine if she’s treated soon. What the hell?)

Of course, the main driving force of this arc is that Dio is back, and clearly up to his old tricks, using Jonathan’s body with his head stapled into it to possess people with parasitic brain worms and casually rape and murder random women in his castle of doom. What’s more, people are now exhibiting new Superpowers, called “Stands” for a reason so stupid I’d rather forget about it. Sometimes these can be cool, like JoJo’s, but they can also be deadly, like his mothers, which is causing her to slowly die by mutating into a plant, as far as I can tell. Thus our heroes must fly to Cairo to take on Dio, provided of course their plane is not hijacked, which it is. This arc is apparently a road movie, so expect lots of foreign settings in amongst the cool poses and piles of gore.

If you read JoJo’s for such things, you should enjoy this volume. There’s cool fights, there’s grotesque violence (the insect pulling the tongues out of an entire aisle of innocents on the plane wins), and there’s occasional stabs at humor, including a bad pun as the cliffhanger. But unfortunately, this was the first JoJo’s that I came away from thinking it was rather dull compared to its predecessors. Given it’s longer than both its predecessors combined, I’m hoping it fixes that soon.

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  1. “I’m hoping it fixes that soon”

    It doesn’t. If you don’t come to enjoy what it is now then you just won’t enjoy it period.

  2. Cathy Lamoureaux says

    Hi, Sean,

    I read your review of the new hardcover edition of JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure Part 3 Stardust Crusaders and I’m hoping you can help me with a question I have.

    I am working on a library catalog record which will represent all the volumes in this new hardcover version of the Stardust Crusaders arc. I have book one in-hand and the colophon shows two separate edition statements – the first says “Shonen Jump Advanced Edition, translation Alexis Kirsch, English adaptation Fred Burke, Editor Jason Thompson” and the second says “Deluxe Hardcover Edition, translation Evan Galloway, Touch-Up Art & Lettering Mark McMurray, Design Fawn Lau, Editor Urian Brown”.

    Based on what I see online, I know that there are new color illustrations and new cover art in the hardcover edition. Do you know whether the hardcover edition is an entirely new translation by Evan Galloway based on the Alexis Kirsch translation? And, is the first edition statement that appears in the colophon a reference to the original translation published by Viz Media in 16 parts from 2005-2010 (also known as “The Shonen Jump Advanced Manga Edition”).

    Thanks in advance for any clarification you can provide.

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