Dragon Ball Z #4
Viz Comics (1998)
originally published by Shueisha (1985)
produced by Bird Studio
“Can They Pull It Off!?”
WRITER/ARTIST: Akira Toriyama
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Gerald Jones
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
TOUCH-UP ART/LETTERER: Wayne Truman
EDITOR: Trish Ledoux
Piccolo developed a new technique, the “Light Of Death”, to kill Goku, but now he needs Goku’s help to keep Raditz busy while he powers up the attack. Even Goku’s signature move, the Kamehameha Wave, is no match for Raditz, but the Light Of Death almost takes him out…if he hadn’t of dodged it. Goku manages to grab Raditz’s tail, which used to weaken Goku and works on Raditz as well. As Piccolo charges up for another attack, Raditz convinces his brother that he’s had enough and will leave. It’s a trick and Goku falls for it. As Raditz seems ready to kill Goku, Gohan suddenly smashes through and destroys Raditz’s pod!
What they got right: While I suspect anyone not used to manga would find this fight takes a long time (two issues and the fight’s still going on–that’s nothing, wait until you watch the anime version of the Freeza saga), it’s still a good fight. There’s even one page that requires you to turn the comic sideways but unlike most 90s comics it actually works, showing just how far Piccolo’s attack is traveling and how menacing the “Light Of Death” (more on that in a moment) actually is.
What they got wrong: Did Raditz really just “wah ha ha” like a mustache-twirling villain from the 1920s?
Other notes: Nobody can seem to agree on the name of Piccolo’s attack. Following a Wikipedia article the original Japanese called it “Makankōsappō” or “Demonic Screw Light Cannon”, and it does look like a screw. Plus…what happens when it hits you? However, Viz translates it into “Light of Death”, and the dubs (both Saban and Funimation) call it the “Special Beam Cannon”, which was a joke used by Team Four Star in Dragon Ball Z Abridged where Piccolo couldn’t say the untranslated Japanese name and just went with Special Beam Cannon. Whatever this thing is called he stopped using it after a while, probably because it takes too long to charge up. Or Toriyama forgot about it. Apparently that happens with him.
Recommendation: The franchise is known for its action and there’s no shortage of it here. If that’s what you want to see if the collected manga is still available and give it a look.