Rip'em a NU-1 #1: Sharknife vol 1

Rip’em a NU-1 is a review series. It is based on a series of analytic opinions.
If you don’t like or disagree with the things your reading or hearing.
Your always entitled to your own opinion.

Disclaimer: I do not own the following images nor the property Sharknife. It is owned by Oni Press and Corey Lewis

The following images are crudely scanned for your viewing pleasure.

If you have not read Sharknife and still want to read it. As fair warning I must advise you that this review contains spoilers. Thank you I hope you enjoy the review.

Sharknife a book loved by many is about to get torn apart by me. Released in 2005 Sharknife is a comic drawn and written by Corey Lewis and published by Oni Press. Sharknife is intended to eventually consist of five digest-sized graphic novels. It’s now 2015 and there’s only two volumes in the Sharknife series. Why is that? I don’t know. According to Wikipedia it says the second volume was meant to be released in Fall 2005, but because of Corey’s involvement in Udon Comic’s Rival Schools series the release date was pushed back. The comic was finally released in 2012 as Sharknife Double Z.

That doesn’t make much sense to me because doing the math that’s 7 years. Now I know Corey’s been working on many other comics within those 7 years. Those comics being Sharknife Brunchtime Bash (2005), PENG! (2005), Appleton (2005), Stab Kids (2006), Rival Schools #1-2 (2006), and his Popgun entry PINAPL (2007) just to name some examples. Don’t you think Corey could have finished the second volume of Sharknife in at least 3-4 years. If you think about it if Corey finished at least one page a day for a whole year he’d have about 365 pages done. Lets take it one step further, for the sake of fairness let’s say he finishes 10 pages a month. By the end of one year he’d finish 120 pages, half of what he’d need to finish one novel. The only thing I could imagine is that Corey doesn't write his books in advance. What I imagine is that he writes his stories on the spot, or he’s not that invested in Sharknife.

As I review this it is going be hard to talk about it without seeming like I’m nit-picking. This is because there are a lot of things wrong with the Sharknife series. Let’s start by reviewing the cover. For the one I own (the original hard copy) Sharknife is walking toward you angrily, or at least I think he’s angry, his eyes are red. The cover looks cool but it doesn't tell me anything about Sharknife’s character, it doesn’t necessarily need to but it would be nice for the cover of the first issue.
 As we open this book we find a list of the crack team behind this book. The editor of Sharknife is James Lucas Jones I feel like I might see more of this guy in the future. Anyway without further ado let’s review Sharknife. As we open up to the first page of Sharknife we get a panel of The Digz Store I don’t know what things they sale I would think they sale clothes but, when I Google it means living quarters. The next panel we see some person’s shoe I don’t understand what’s happening. The next panel cuts to a girl eating what I think is a pizza it’s not to clear on what she’s eating. In our last panel the girl intro introduces herself as Chieko Momuza.
On the next page her bio tells us that she’s 20 years old, is 1/2 Japanese American (Then what’s the other half?), Her favorite hobby is a half Jap Nap (I have no idea what that is), The bio gladly points out the clothes she’s wearing, then points out that she was eating Z-Jerky (At least I now know what she was eating), The bio also goes as far to tell us her dogs names, which tells us absolutely nothing about her as a character (By the way none of the other characters are introduced like this). She then starts to babble on about the premise of this story. She says the town is owned by a guy named Ombra Ravenga a gangster that owns a smoke shop in the ghetto. She says that it was the tightest place in the hood until they stole his jakobz. If some can, can you define jakobz for me please. She goes on to explain that because of their restaurant Ombra is having a hard time staying in business. This doesn’t make sense to me because they’re two different businesses selling two different products. That’s like if Nintendo is trying to compete with Disney even though they sell two completely different products there’s no competition.
 She starts showing us rooms of the restaurant (Which isn’t very important), until we run into Caesar Halleluja (Our true main protagonist) who is according to a box below him is kinda pretty for a busboy, (Are busboys genuinely ugly in their world? ) the panel is also catered with a random Wah Zap sound (What this sound is supposed to be linked to I don’t know). Caesar and Chieko share a quick conversation and Chieko leaves (This is how most of their conversations in this series are. They don’t talk about anything important than they go their separate ways.). In Sharknife if you don’t know Chieko is supposed to be the love interest for Caesar. They share about as much chemistry as Bella and Edward from twilight.
Chieko shows us her father, moving on. Chieko goes to wait a table and 1,2,3 crab monsters break in though a wall in front of them. (I say 1,2,3 crab monsters because they’re pointlessly labeled one, two, and three.) This is were the “story” of Sharknife begans. Sharknife jumps in and swipes the three crabs through the wall they just smashed through.
Sharknife makes a dramatic entrance and the text below says Sharknife! Pivot-posing hot lava ninja robot landslide of justice, power level: tight (So Sharknife is a robot ninja that can withstand the temperatures of lava, either that or they’re just referring to his color.). Sharknife punches through crab 1's arm, an arrow points out that it was a critical hit. The second crab hits him with a pineapple stand. Chieko’s father confirms that he can barely speak english, then Sharknife slams crab #2 on the ground. He then unleashes what I think is a Kai Blade, and slices crab #2 in half.
Crabs 1 & 3 leap onto the scene and Sharknife attacks with a move he calls the Babylon Chalice (it looks like a hammer head shark,why didn’t he call it the Hammer-Head Blast or something.) the attack vaporizes the final two crabs. Sharknife strikes a pose, then we get a random cameo from a character from a popular anime series can you guess who? Sharknife transforms back then we see a panel with some guy in a hood. “Man Ombra’s gonna be pissed.” he says. We then go into chapter two (I guess this book is in chapters) were we open up Ravenga Tabac (The name of Ombra Ravenga’s smoke shop ) some black caption boxes fill us in on things we should already know. “Once the hotspot for every yakuza or mafia primo this unfortunate dive has been shaken down and chopped-out by the popularity of the Guangdong Factory.” (The Guangdong Factory is Chieko’s father’s restaurant) I’m again going to ask how can two different businesses that sale two completely different products be in a competition with each other. The only thing I can think is that the Guangdong factory is selling drugs along with their food, or maybe the Yakuza and Mafia like their noodles and dumplings more then they like their smokes, (Which I highly doubt) because the food is so good it removes any urge for smoking, or for an explanation that actually makes sense. We could say the Yakuza and Mafia members were scared off by Sharknife, but then again that would probably make to much sense. I could type the rest of the captions in but, the things they say are too obvious.
We transition into a conversation between that hood guy and Ombra Ravenga. THG (That Hood Guy) says “I’m tryin to tell you, alla those alkiki crabs got layed out by that sharknife...” Ombra interrupts “I know mang. I didn’t really ’spect them to do much to that juice-tiger. I gotz more in store for Sharkfin.” “So why even waste time with the little monsters?” says THG “Coz I freakin’ can.” Ombra replies. Yes forget strategies and having motives to send my army of monsters, let’s just do it because I can. Yes the dialogue in this book is that stupid. He goes on saying “Since my Doo-Doo Shop (At least he acknowledges that what he’s selling is crap) is eating dirt, leaves me plenty o’ time to E-Z Bake a grip of monsters.” No it doesn’t because you can be spending more time making plans that actually can do real damage to the Guangdong Factory. Also how are you getting the resources to quote on quote “E-Z Bake” these monsters, I don’t understand. Ombra tells THG (I haven’t got a proper name for him from the book so far, so for the sake of simplicity let’s call him Kane, because that’s what it says on his shirt. ) That Lei-mo’s got the situation under control. The next few pages of alliteration gives us some backstory on Ombra. To summarize the things said Ombra was excepted into a gang by some guy who’s name unimportant, He soon over threw him as leader of and gang. They spout out some nonsense about his clothes and we learn he pumped the restaurant with monster eggs. Then we get some alliteration on his burning rage.
In our next chapter we get a random style change. The styles for chapter 4 is Corey’s take on Chibi style. I’d hate to skip this so I’ll summarize it. What happens is that Chieko and Caesar talk about the fight from today, then Chieko closes down the restaurant Caesar runs into Lei-mo she offers her services as a monster exterminator. She agrees to come in tomorrow and that’s the end of that chapter (I don’t think Corey understands chapters).
In the next chapter Caesar has to fight a Orva Mando a squid-jellyfish hybrid that serves as Lei-mo’s Protector. You know for the sake of good judgment, let’s “assume” he won the fight and skip to the last chapter.
In our last chapter we open up to, what else the Guangdong Factory, what a shocker. The five stars (A group of “characters” in this book that we’ll never see again.) are putting on the last egg roll on the egg roll pyramid.
Until suddenly monster eggs start hatching. They cluster together to give us Crima Bolo who has a double lethality rating: Fierce!, fuel: Egg rolls, behold everyone our third fight scene. Caesar has a hard time getting a cookie. Seeing that Sharknife needs help, the five stars transform themselves into the Spice Cadets.

I’m starting to get sick and tired of this, we need to bring this to a close. Crima Bolo summons Crima Cubs via fighting game reference. The Space Cadets become overwhelmed by the Crima Cubs, then Chieko finally finds a cookie and feeds it to Caesar transforming him into sharknife.  After saving Chieko from Crima’s attack, he says the most randomly lame line I’ve heard in a comic. he says “You will require your mother’s aid.” Angrily dashing toward the cubs Sharknife punches and kicks some of them. The Space Cadets see Sharknife and gain a second wind. They use their Power fork technique to finish the last of the cubs, Sharknife tags out the Spice Cadets. Sharknife kicks, punches, and suplexes Crima Bolo, swoosh, bam, boom, by this point in the review I’m sure you guys get the deal.
Sharknife cuts off her arm, then she (Yes she, the comic said she was a mother) fires a missile at sharknife.
He stabs it with a his knife (hence the term Sharknife ), and whacks Crima Bolo on the head with it.
The missile then explodes. Does it destroy the restaurant? no. Does it harm the near by people? no. Does it at least harm Sharknife? I mean he was the closest one to the blast. To answer all your questions No, no, and no.
To end off this “story” he says another randomly lame bit of dialogue “Your lucky numbers are... 24...64...17...&81.”. Everybody in the restaurant celebrates and rejoices. We get a scene of both Caesar and Chieko talking. It’s not too important, so I’ll skip it. Then our next scene unveils the villain Ombra Ravenga’s Tranformation Orca Sword. Which in all fairness does look like a pretty cool evil counter-part to Sharknife.

My Final Thoughts

Sharknife was a tough comic to talk about. Not because it was too hard for me to review, but simply because there was a lot of things to discuss. The majority was filled with fight scenes. The Story is weak, the exposition covers no holes, and the characterization is virtually non-existent. The artwork in Sharknife is pretty good, and adds a dash of flavor and spice. Sadly this doesn't save it from it’s poor writing and cheesy video game references.

Rip’em a NU-1 Grade


I hope you guys liked the review it's my first one and it took some time to make. Next time i'll try to make multiple entries at a time.

Next Cartoon Impressions 

For my first entry in Toonsmash

My next Rip'em a NU-1 entry will be a little bit from now. Not too long but still a little bit from now.

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Until next time Peace, Love, and Hair grease.

Remember girls and boys Sharknife is 100% Action Comics!

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