Review: Weekly Shonen Jump #23

Naruto is back in Jump via a new Boruto monthly, which simultaneously excites and disappoints. Anybody who knows me or who pays really any attention to some portion of my writing knows Naruto holds a special place in my heart.  It was the first serialized comic of any kind that I regularly read, as well as the first comic I ever wrote about for this very site.  When the final chapter of the series dropped with a pretty fully realized future for the series, it was clear to me that Jump was going to milk Kishimoto's creation for all it was worth.  My mixed feelings were mostly assuaged when the Boruto movie proved to be possibly the best of all of the Naruto movies.

WSJ2016_05_09_CoverBut the problem with the first chapter of Ikemoto and Kodachi's continuation of Kishimoto's series is that it's literally the goddamn Boruto movie!  I don't remember hearing anything about them adapting the movie when this series was announced.  The first few pages are like being shot out of a cannon into an unbelievably awesome new chapter of this story and then the reader is blindsided with a flashback to something they might have already seen.

If you haven't seen the Boruto movie, then this will be fine; but, I can't help but feel there was an opportunity missed to hit the ground running here.  Though the movie was a thrilling introduction to the future of Konoha and the relationship between Hokage Naruto and his son, there's very little about the film itself that is absolutely essential to a longer serial.  In other words, this story easily could have picked up after the events of the Boruto film, alluded to them, and continued to explicate the same themes.  Hell, one of the only surprise twists in the film is that Mitsuki is Orochimaru's kid--something that was revealed in a one-shot from Kishimoto last week!

The first three pages that give us a glimpse of yet another Konoha collapse looming in the future are incredible, and have me extremely excited for Kodachi's vision of where this series is going.  Again, this is something that made the first chapter kind of a bummer: the three flash-forward pages at the chapter's beginning are the only actual hint of Kodachi's writing and and Ikemoto's new character designs.  Everything else is something that was already written, so it's hard for me to gauge this creative team yet.  The only thing that's notably different in the art is Ikemoto's drawing style, which is slightly tighter than Kishimoto's, and stands out particularly in the way he draws adult Sasuke.  I'm thrilled to see more from this team, but not looking forward to the several-month wait until I see chapters that are actually new.

The rest of the new guard--Academia, Food Wars, and Black Clover-- continue to be excellent, and I look forward to seeing how the massive, game-changing conflict in Academia plays out.

[su_box title="Score: 4/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]

Weekly Shonen Jump #23 Writers: Various Artists: Various Publisher: Viz Media Price: $0.99 Format: Weekly; Digital