Netflix’s take on Cowboy Bebop came and went in a season, but tie-ins live on. Even in its absence, we’re still exploring this reimagined world through novels and comics. One such installment, “Supernova Swing,” drops this month from Titan Comics. The collection is an assembly of several issues, finally under one cover so you can read the whole story at one go.
We got an early look at the complete quantum caper, packed with action, adventure, and firecracker noodles. How does it stack up compared to its source? Will long-time Bebop fans be on board? Read on!
Cowboy Bebop: Supernova Swing hails from Lucifer writer Dan Watters and webcomic artist Lamar Mathurin in his first official comic turn. As is to be expected, the vibe is much more in tune with the Netflix series than the anime—from the color palette to the character design.
As with the live-action adaptation, you’ll see several references to the wider world of the anime series. That said, you don’t need to know the Netflix version—or any version—to dive into Supernova Swing. Existing fans of Spike, Jet, Faye, and Ein will get more out of it. But first-timers can easily throw themselves into the explosive adventure with no pre-existing knowledge. The comic gives a swift run-down of the setting in the early pages.
Luck of the Draw
So who’s the bounty in this installment of Cowboy Bebop? It’s not a who… it’s a what.
Things kick off when a man named Melville robs a casino. And the odds seem to be completely in his favor as he makes his escape. The reason for this soon becomes clear: Melville possesses a quantum vest, which (allegedly) allows him to untangle the threads of probability and navigate to his desired outcome. The police and the syndicate are both out for this tech… and the Bebop is (as usual) bankrupt.
The crew’s mission takes them all around the galaxy, including a settlement where everything is great all the time. (Must be something in the air.) They do eventually discover the truth behind this scientific miracle… and it’s pretty convoluted. But not for the reasons you might think.
Cats on Mars
Supernova Swing is a bit rough around the edges in places—the story is solid, but the dialogue sometimes feels more expositional than conversational. Perhaps with more time and source material, everyone involved would have had more opportunities to get to know these takes on the characters. Jet had the most on-point characterization in this caper, between his framing story with Abigail and his laid-back chats with the locals on Cyllene.
That said, this is definitely a Cowboy Bebop-worthy story, from its fantastical setup to its payoff. The action scenes are exciting and well-drawn, and the potential is there to tell big, bold stories. This upcoming release is a collection of issues published throughout the year; and other than a prequel novel, it’s the first attempt at putting this iteration of the characters on the printed page. To that end, it’s a great start.
Like the Netflix series, the Cowboy Bebop comic is imperfect, but promising. Here’s hoping that, unlike the Netflix series, these comics will have room to grow and flourish into their full potential.