The Legend of Topher Thomas: Chapter 1

Okay, so there’s a young woman in a Japanese school girl outfit. There’re also several tentacles. Don’t worry though; this isn’t going to be that kind of manga…

Chris Perguidi is responsible for the laughs that you’ll be having throughout “The Legend of Topher Thomas.” Based on an underground wrestler’s persona, we get to see Topher Thomas, the spawn of a demon who has fused with his evil counterpart, relay trope after trope of standard manga exposition presented in careful but awkward spurts that add up to a mountain of ridiculous factoids that are all somehow palatable and familiar to anyone who went through an anime phase in middle school. Topher is joined by his sister, who’s a cat…or a fox…or something? Well, spoilers, she’s also a sword. Together, they battle a tentacle-clad school girl from the Blue Lagoon. Nice to see the tentacles in the other shoes for once…

Collaborating artists Shida and Sega Kucing bring the story to life with apt posing and fluid sense of motion. It’s always a treat when indie artists seem perfect for the job they’re given. The backdrop of classic action manga feels as inviting as the writing for those looking to indulge in some well-framed cartoon violence with touches of fantasy creatures. Certain panels look straight out of Yu Yu Hakusho, and I don’t know how much more appropriate that could be.

Unfortunately, there are some inescapable hiccoughs along the way. There are spelling and grammatical errors aplenty. There’s also a page where it looks like the artists neglected to remove the pencil layer after applying ink. These are easily forgivable for what this is: a good time. I love Topher’s battle with his evil self, which consists of considering the several ways this trope has been presented in popular culture and explaining why those might not be the most practical. The result of this yielded what’s easily the deepest revelation in the issue, revealing some heart that could really sink its hooks into readers who stick along for more. Other favorite moments would be the part of the battle with the tentacled girl that essentially turns into a one-liner contest, as well as our protagonist’s mysterious father being described as having many names, which all seem conflicting with each other.

If you’d like a quick read with nice art inspired by the light-hearted action series’ we all love, be sure to give this a look.

Pros:
General Silliness
Stacking Manga Tropes
Appropriate artistic choices

Cons:
Errors scream amateur
Disorganized/clunky over-exposition

Final Judgement: 7.3

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