“Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues” is its own worst enemy in latest issue

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

“Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2” cover art by Kagan McLeod

Denton J. Tipton is back at it with Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2 and I don’t know how to react to it. In my review of #1, I went into depth as to how Tipton took direct inspiration from The Karate Kid feature film and YouTube Red series. I dove right in to #2 and wow, the story truly flew by. This issue is "Johnny’s Story Part 2", where he reflects on past run-ins with LaRusso (in particular the Halloween party), who continues to befriend Johnny’s ex, Ali. Come the story’s end, I was left wanting more, thanks to Mr. Miyagi’s grand entrance into the story. At first, I thought this was an awesome turn for the comic series. Tipton does a great job of steering away from its predecessors.

“Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2” interior art by Kagan McLeod

Yet, something didn’t feel quite right. The story and the blocking within the panels... they seem quite familiar. A quick YouTube search revealed the truth to me. Practically every moment from #2 is a direct rip from the film, save for the present day moment where Sensei Lawrence is at his dojo with the new Cobra Kai kids. Down to exact lines and replication of scene framing, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. What is the point of making a comic book series out of the film? Even the YouTube series, which relies heavily on the features, moves forward story-wise with new characters and stakes. What Tipton has done so far is just baffling and the only logical excuse is that he’s seeking a new audience to inspire with The Karate Kid story. This isn’t the best way to go about it, however. The bright side of all this are artist Kagan McLeod and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado, who truly bring the action to life when Mr. Miyagi enters the fold. I look forward to more of their work in issue #3, but I’m nervous about where Tipton plans to go with the story.

Cobra Kai: The Karate Kid Saga Continues #2 is published by IDW and goes on sale November 27, 2019.

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