Different, But Same- Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2

by Brendan M. Allen

“Johnny’s Story,” Part 2! See The Karate Kid in a whole new light in this retelling through the eyes of Johnny Lawrence, two-time All Valley Tournament champion.
The new kid continues to make moves on Johnny’s girl, and takes the rivalry to a new level with a lowdown prank at the Halloween dance. Will Johnny get his revenge?

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2 takes place the day after that little scuffle on the beach where Daniel ate sand and Ali’s radio got busted. Johnny keeps saying things like “A new day is breaking,” and “Ali is history,” but still picks a fight with Daniel for… sitting and minding his own business. Behavior that mirrors the film pretty closely.

In the last chapter, Denton J. Tipton rehashed a lot of material from the show. In this second installment, we spend more time back in 1984. Interestingly, the book doesn’t stray much from the movie storyline at all. I thought the point of the streaming show and this series was to expand on the scenes we already know, and shake up the perspective. While the scenes are well written, it misses on that end. This issue is basically a comic book rendering of a film we all know.

I wasn’t a entirely sold on the art by Kagan McLeod and Luis Antonio Delgado in the opening issue. The likenesses were passable, if not slightly caricatured, but it felt like there was something just a little off. It has grown on me. There’s still a little of a Jack Davis vibe, but it ends up working really well.

The coolest thing about the Netflix series this book is based off of is that we actually get into Johhny’s head and realize that at least SOME of the fault from that eighties situation lies squarely on the shoulders of our favorite Karate Kid. Johnny obviously needs some work, but there is a legitimate take that makes Johnny just ONE of the jerks in a pretty jerky situation. Some of that gets lost here. In Johnny’s own recollection, he’s the dick.
Johnny. You’re telling the story. None of these kids were even ALIVE in 1984. You can spin this thing however you want. Daniel-San pulled a gun on your sister and kicked your cat? No wonder you hate that guy!

Some of the dialogue lines up with Johnny trying over and over again to turn a new leaf, right before he plays the villain again. I hope this is happening to show that even though he’s making an effort, he’s liable to fail a few times, and that we can get back to the spin in the next installment. Cobra Kai #2 just doesn’t do much to move that angle along.

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Story Continues- Johnny’s Story, Part 2. IDW Publishing, 27 November 2019. Written by Denton J. Tipton, art by Kagan McLeod, color by Luis Antonio Delgado, letters by Neil Uyetake, edited by Tom Waltz with assistance from Megan Brown, alternate cover by Nikos Koutsis.

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