Do you all remember that “Mushroom Samba” episode of Cowboy Bebop, when things turned really wacky? Well, Cowboy Bebop #2 tries to emulate that wackiness, but for a whole planet. Well, moon, but you get the idea.

"Cowboy Bebop #2" main cover art.
Hey, the artist managed to capture all their good sides. Cover A artist: Andy Tong.

Cowboy Bebop #2 is the second issue (you can find a spoilery review of #1 here) of the Cowboy Bebop comic book series, which is the comic book adaptation of the recently canceled Netflix series of the same name, which is itself a live-action adaptation of the anime also of the same name by Hajime Yatate, also known as Sunrise. Dan Watters wrote this comic book series, with Lamar Mathurin as the artist. Andy Tong, Netflix, Claudia Ianniciello, and Erica D’Urso provided the cover art. Lastly, Titan Comics remains the publisher of this comic book series.

"Cowboy Bebop #2" variant cover 1 art.
My, this cover looks suspiciously photorealistic. Oh, wait. Cover B art: photo provided by Netflix.

Cowboy Bebop #2 went on sale on March 2, 2022. You can purchase print and digital versions directly from Titan Comics. Well, technically, the website redirects you to Forbidden Planet if you’re ordering print copies in the UK. It also redirects you to Kindle if you’re ordering the digital version, but you get the idea.

"Cowboy Bebop #2" variant cover 2 art.
Ooh, motion blurry. Cover C artist: Claudia Ianniciello.

Warning: spoilers for Cowboy Bebop #2 below. If you want to read the comic book Mushroom Samba for yourself, stop here, and come back once you’ve sambaed the last of your sobriety away.

Cowboy Bebop #2: Plot Summary

"Cowboy Bebop #2" preview page 1.
A monologue explaining the setting: what every sci-fi story needs.

Cowboy Bebop #2 picks up where we last left off, with the crew of the Bebop pursuing their bounty to one of Jupiter’s moons: Cyllene. The landing on the moon is uneventful, but it’s when they start going out that things get weird. The moon is supposed to be uninhabited, according to the ISSP. And yet, there is clearly a decent-sized town on the surface. Even stranger, the people living there don’t seem to care about anything. Whether the Bebop squashes a farmer’s fence, or whether Faye makes off with a load of moolah by cheating at cards, no one seems to care at all.

As it turns out, something went wrong with Cyllene’s atmosphere while the ISSP was trying to terraform the moon. They accidentally introduced a bunch of chemicals into the atmosphere, resulting in said atmosphere making everyone basically drunk. Drunk people don’t care much about anything, hence their current behavior. It’s not directly harmful though, so in spite of the atmosphere, the crew of the Bebop goes out without spacesuits. Which results in most of them not getting much done.

All save for Spike, who actually finds their bounty’s partner in crime. Or at least, a partner in developing that luck suit he used. He’s even willing to trade for one of the suits. All he wants is 200 packs of “Firecracker Noodles”. Sounds easy, right? Well, the catch is that particular brand of noodles has been long out of production. Even worse, someone managed to track them, now knows where the luck suits are, and is busy calling someone about it. Will the Bebop get their noodles first before the bad guys get to the suits? Well, that’s what we’ll find out in Cowboy Bebop #3.

Cowboy Bebop #2: The Good

"Cowboy Bebop #2" preview page 3.
Drunk doggie inbound in 3…2…1…

I like how Cowboy Bebop #2 is basically an ode to the “Mushroom Samba” episode of the anime. The entire setup of Cyllene and their atmosphere is basically all to make everyone act like drunken idiots. There’s something hilarious about seeing Jet Black walk out in a protective spacesuit, only to see that no one else is doing it, and thus feeling like an idiot, just takes it off and hangs it on a laundry line. And of course, there’s the sight of Ein rolled over on his back, trying to burp and bark at the same time. A cute drunk doggie always makes a scene better.

Even the whole pointless fetch quest involving the 200 packs of spicy noodles just to get a luck suit feels not only very Mushroom Samba, but also very Cowboy Bebop. I foresee a hilarious chain of events in the next issue as the Bebop crew tries to find a source of these long out of production noodles. I really hope the next issue delivers.

Cowboy Bebop #2 ~ The Bad

"Cowboy Bebop #2" preview page 5.
Of course the Firecracker Noodle containers have a flaming dragon logo on them. Why not?

As funny as Cowboy Bebop #2 was, I feel like neither Dan Watters nor Lamar Mathurin went far enough with the humor. The humor is all low-key and subtle. It’s enough to make me smile and chuckle a few times, but never gets to rip-roaring laughter. I feel like if this is a tribute to Mushroom Samba, the humor should’ve been wilder and sillier. Kind of like the antics Ed and Ein got into in that episode of the anime. Granted, this is very much a Your Mileage May Vary thing. If you like this subtle humor better than the obvious humor, more power to you.

I also feel like the art of Cowboy Bebop #2 doesn’t really feel…consistent. Sometimes the art is detailed to the point of greatness. Other times, it feels like the art is rough and unfinished. I can’t tell if this is just Lamar Mathurin’s art style, or if it’s something else. Either way, the art feels like a representation of the live-action series itself. I just wish the art was consistent, whether it be consistently good or consistently bad (although perhaps more the former than the latter). I just want a bit of consistency here. It’s a shame that seems to be too much to ask.

Source: Titan Comics