Dragon Ball Z #5
Viz Comics (1998)
originally published by Shueisha, Inc (1983)
produced by Bird Studio
“Gone…But Not Forgotten”
WRITER/ARTIST: Akira Toriyama
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Gerald Jones
TRANSLATION: Lillian Olsen
TOUCH-UP ART/LETTERER: Wayne Truman
EDITOR: Trish Ledoux
In a fit of rage Gohan crashes into Radtiz with enough force to weaken him. However, the only way to finish him off is the Light Of Death. This time, Goku holds onto Raditz, and since Piccolo is still a jerk at this point he’s more than happy to take Goku out with Raditz. then Piccolo makes the mistake of telling Raditz about the Dragon Balls, since his scouter transmits the information on the battle to his two fellow Sayans, and in a year they will be here…and they’re more powerful than Raditz! With Goku now dead (and his body mysteriously vanishing, which Piccolo blames on Kamisama) what will our heroes do now?
What they got right: That’s quite a finish. While noble sacrifices carry a bit less weight when you can wish someone back with the Dragon Balls (and we know Goku already has a few, including the one on Gohan’s hat), it’s a nice cap to a really cool fight. Plus you can only be wished back once at this point.
What they got wrong: Sure, nowadays I know who Kami is thanks to the TV show and later issues I own, but anyone only following the comics the way Viz released them is in the dark right now. Which for a US 90s comic isn’t unusual, but this is from Japan in the 1980s. And Piccolo says whatever Kami’s plans are, they’re “queer” ones. Given how the word was used even in the 90s, maybe they should have just said strange or unusual. And lest you think Toriyama is free from my commentary, why is the guy we’ll later know as Vegeta eating a dead alien’s arm? They’re different species, so maybe it isn’t cannibalism technically, but it’s still something I’d rather not see.
Recommendation: A good end to the fight and setting up the next story arc, which was part of this first volume of Dragon Ball Z comics so we aren’t done yet. It’s still worth a look for fans of the show or if the concept of the series works for you.