A little over a decade ago, Dark Horse published “Lone Wolf 2100,” a reimagining of Kazuo Koike and Goseki Kojima’s classic “Lone Wolf and Cub” manga. Dark Horse has decided to reboot that futuristic story, but Eric Heisserer and Miguel Sepulveda’s version of “Lone Wolf 2100” unfortunately feels like everything else on the market.
Like its predecessor, “Lone Wolf 2100” stars Itto, a robotic protector tasked with bringing Daisy Ogami to a safe place, so that a special virus in her bloodstream can be used to stop a worldwide epidemic. As the epidemic spreads, creating zombie-like victims known as the Thrall, their path is blocked by infectee and Thrall-hunter alike.
Heisserer’s biggest change to “Lone Wolf 2100” is shifting Daisy Ogami from a baby (similar to the child in “Lone Wolf and Cub”) to a young girl. It gives Itto someone to talk to and makes Daisy an actual character instead of merely a MacGuffin. It’s the update that makes the most sense and has a lot of potential for future issues. That said, the two barely speak in this issue, aside from providing the tip of some exposition.
Otherwise, “Lone Wolf 2100” #1 feels sadly flat, like a mixture of “The Walking Dead” and every other evil government conspiracy story. Unfortunately, that means it doesn’t feel fresh or worthy of an update. It’s a lot of dry exposition by people sitting around a conference table or in front of a large projection screen, and neither is interesting. Even the conflicts Itto encounters — first with the Thrall, then the uninfected — are lacking anything particularly grabbing for the reader. “Lone Wolf 2100” #1 is just going through the motions without bringing anything new or fun to serve as a hook to pull people back in.
Sepulveda’s art tries to do some fun things, but it never quite succeeds. The biggest example is on page five, when the Thrall are leaping down from above and advancing on the ground towards the sleeping Daisy. At a glance, it’s eye-catching as the small lit canopy bed is surrounded. The problem is that it doesn’t work as well as it could. Because of the darkness, the perspective is off; you have Thrall advancing on the ground on the same plane as those either leaping from above or on top of the canopy, with no differentiation between them. It’s all off-kilter as a result. On the other hand, Sepulveda’s cover is fantastic — I love the Thrall lurking in the alleyway, and the contrast between Itto’s weapons and Daisy’s snowball — and that gives me hope for future issues.
“Lone Wolf 2100” #1 feels like an update that didn’t need to happen. Aside from aging Daisy up, which could work well down the line, nothing stands out as justifying the reboot. Maybe future issues will bring a strong hook into the property, but — for now — it’s just not coming together.