JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure: Stardust Crusaders, Vol. 3

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. Translated by Evan Galloway, original translation and adaptation by Alexis Kirsch and Fred Burke.

This is a stronger volume of JoJo than the previous two, and don’t think I haven’t noticed that Jotaro is barely in it. Instead, this focuses on Joseph for an extended period, and coincidentally has some of its more exciting, amusing, and terrifying fights. Indeed, terrifying may be a good word for most of the volume, as this book reminds you that as much as JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure is an action manga, it could also be classified as horror. Leaving aside the obvious gore, which is horrific enough, we get body possession/disguise (it’s not actually clear which it is), and the villain being able to appear only in reflections as he advances slowly on our hero, something that is right out of the horror movie handbook. Araki is very good at this sort of thing.

I suspected I would enjoy this volume more than the previous two right from the start, as everyone worries about the cliches they’ve heard about India, and Avdol reassures them that those are just stereotypes… only to enter the city and see exactly what they were afraid of. Stereotypes are there for a reason, after all. Sadly, Avdol doesn’t last very long in this book, sacrificing his life to protect the dumbass Polnareff, who is hell-bent on revenge and so therefore not listening very well. To be fair, Polnareff has a good reason for revenge, and the villain Centerfold (changed from the original J. Geil – we should be grateful Nena wasn’t renamed 99 Red Balloons, I suppose) is a loathsome creep, bringing up Polnareff’s sister (who he raped and murdered) again and again. You’re happy when he dies.

The second half of the book, as I said, mostly deals with Joseph and his battle against Centerfold’s evil mother, who was disguised (or possessed?) as Nena and has now taken control of his arm via a gruesome “bug bite” that turns into a Basket Case-esque monster. Fans of the 2nd arc will find a lot to smile about here, as Joseph runs all over the city trying out various plans that don’t work very well (and also being framed for murder) before finally getting the upper hand and saying his trademark “you’re thinking” line. And we end up in the middle of the Himilayas, as our heroes battle what appears to be a guy whose car is a Stand, and also pick up the annoying 11-year-old girl they had dumped the book before – she’s back, and she’s still comic relief. There’s even some amusing meta, as the villain, who has seemingly burned Jotaro alive, shouts that this is the end of Part 3!

It’s not, of course, and Jotaro points out that no one is going to be replacing him anytime soon, much as I might want them to. In the meantime, this is a good comeback volume for Stardust Crusaders, which does what I always like best about JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure, in that it has an equal amount of both bizarre and adventure. But will we ever get to Dio again?

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  1. J. Geil’s mother is Enya, not Nena. The latter was just another stan user who worked for Dio.

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