"Cobra Kai #1" fails to strike hard with premiere issue

Writer: Denton J. Tipton, Art: Kagan McLeod, Colors: Luis Antonio Delgado, Letters: Neil Uyetake, Editor: Tom Waltz.

"Cobra Kai #1" cover by Kagan McLeod

The 1984 cult classic film Karate Kid is not something I thought would have led to an internet series return, let alone a comic book series, but here we are. Writer Denton J. Tipton takes direct inspiration from the Youtube Red series.  Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues starts things off with Johnny Lawrence’s side of the Karate Kid story. William Zabka, who starred as Johnny Lawrence in the ’84 flick, is back as the roughly aged and drunken Sensei Lawrence. Artist Kagan McLeod replicates Zabka’s likeness "to a T" in this premiere issue, as he does for the new series’ characters Miguel Diaz, Aisha and Hawk. Though, animated Hawk’s mohawk looks way better in my opinion. McLeod really captures each character’s personality and mannerisms quite well. The glass Coors Beer bottles are also peppered throughout, which is a nice touch.

"Cobra Kai #1" internal art by Kagan McLeod

Cobra Kai jumps off with a flashback to not-so happy times of a young Johnny Lawrence and how he came to be the best student of the titular dojo’s Sensei Kreese. It also delves into the peaks and the pits of his high school romance with the beautifully feisty Ali. The way colorist Luis Antonio Delgado distinguishes the flashbacks with a sepia hue is simple yet well executed. In the present day, he recalls these past events in order to explain to his students the importance of being prepared for the upcoming competition. These are all events that actually take place at some point in the internet series.

If this comic is supposed to be a continuation after the second season, it doesn’t feel that way at all. Honestly, a part of me believes Tipton mashed up different things he liked from the show's first couple of seasons and turned it into a comic book. Hopefully the next issue proves me wrong. Cobra Kai #2 is certain to be all about Daniel LaRusso’s story so we may have to wait until issue #3 to see a true distinction. I’ll still keep my fingers crossed.

Cobra Kai #1 is published by IDW and is on sale October 9, 2019.

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