The Gauntlet Has Been Thrown: Reviewing Cobra Kai- The Karate Kid Saga Continues #3

by Brendan M. Allen

“Johnny’s Story,” Part Three. See The Karate Kid in a whole new light in this retelling through the eyes of Johnny Lawrence, two-time All Valley Tournament champion.

Johnny trains to win the tournament—and his ex-girlfriend’s heart.

YouTube Premium’s Cobra Kai show is headed into its third season. The show brilliantly examines the relationship between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. By taking a closer look at some of the events in the 1984 Karate Kid movie from Johnnie’s perspective, it’s easy to see that Johnny wasn’t the only villain and that Daniel was actually responsible for several of the conflicts in the film.

This IDW Publishing comic book series is intended to bridge some of the gaps between the film and the show. Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #3 is mostly flashback, rehashing a few of the really dynamic scenes from the film, with just a few scenes set in the timeline of the YouTube show and very little else added. If you look at the preview page below, you can see what I’m talking about. This scene plays out almost identically to the way it did on the big screen. Most of this book does the same.

The first chapter of this four piece mini restated Johnnie’s position from the show. The second chapter summarized events from the film, without really giving a lot of fresh perspective or reasoning behind Johnnie’s abhorrent behavior. This third chapter reads a lot like the second. Denton J. Tipton hits the tone and cadence of the main characters, but that’s owing in part to the fact that a lot of this material is repeated almost verbatim from the source materials. 

Kagan McLeod and Luis Antonio Delgado bring a slightly caricatured Jack Davis vibe to this series, which works surprisingly well for the character driven moments, but not quite so well for the action sequences. It’s a little cartoony for punches to the face and lightning quick feints. 

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues started off strong. I was digging the concept. The show is fantastic. The movie is legendary. Bridging the two properties, expanding on some of the concepts and scenes, showing some of the actual growth and digression of the characters between the two timelines… sounds great on paper. Somehow, I think the thread got lost a little between conception and execution. I’m still here for it, though. I want to see how Tipton and co. are going to wrap this thing up in the next and final installment. 

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #3, IDW Publishing, 19 February 2020. Written by Denton J. Tipton, art by Kagan McLeod, color by Luis Antonio Delgado, letters by Neil Uyetake, edited by Tom Waltz, edit assists by Megan Brown and Riley Farmer.

Brendan M. Allen

Brendan Allen has probably had more jobs than you would reasonably believe. Dog trainer? He’s done it. Flooring contractor? You bet! EMT? Army NBC specialist? Road dog for a Celtic rock band? Yes, yes, and och aye! Now he reads comics and writes about them. It's a rough gig. You can follow Brendan on Twitter @SaintAmish where he tweets about comic books and cystic fibrosis awareness.

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