Story/Art: Stan Lee and Hiroyuki Takei
Translation: John Werry
What They Say:
As Vice and his cohorts gather to plan their strike against Ultimo, puppet master Dunstan tells them he’s planned the Hundred Machine Funeral as an epic battle in which fighters for good and evil must convince one another to switch sides! Meanwhile, Yamato’s crush Sayama discovers that she too was involved in Yamato’s heroic struggle in a past life…
As the good Doji start to gather, the evil Doji find their meeting crashed by Dunstan. After the evil Doji finish freaking out, Milieu starts to explain that the Hundred Machine Funeral isn’t a fight to the death, but instead a fight to bring the enemy over to your side, with a time limit of a single year. Vice decides that he isn’t taking any of the old man’s crap, only for Dunstan to put him in his place by revealing that he has the powers of all the Doji.
Back with the good Doji, Sayama reveals that she is Regula’s new master, and that she had her memories of the past restored. In a flashback, we see the Ultimo of the past get turned against Lady Gekko by Vice’s words. Thinking that he was doing good, Ultimo ended up being the one to slaughter Lady Gekko. As the flashback comes to an end, Yamato springs into action in both the past and the present. The present day Yamato appears in front of Dunstan with his memories finally restored. Together with the good Doji masters, now including Sayama and friends, Yamato manages to actually land a hit on the cocky old man. Dunstan then escapes, but not before taunting Musashi and revealing that he’s even more godlike than previously thought.
After the eventful night, things seem to return surprisingly close to normal, at least until Vice runs into a young fan. While little Chichibu Jun rattles on his praise Vice decides to cut right through him, only for the boy to keep on smiling and admit how happy he is. He asks Vice to become his Doji, but Vice simply turns him down even after Rune appears and says it may not be a bad idea. As the volume comes to a close, Ultimo is officially accepted into Yamato’s house, and Mushashi is approached by Fussa Fusataro, one of the evil Doji masters.
With this volume we get yet another decent entry into the series, but once more it falls a bit short. The reveal as to the true nature of the coming battle isn’t terribly surprising, considering the direction the series has been taking. Even so, hopefully the coming volumes will be able to take this premise and run with it, instead of simply settling for knockout brawls. On the plus side, the reveal of the past in this book is surprisingly interesting, and manages to make Ultimo into a much more appealing character. On the other hand, Stan Lee may be overstepping his bounds a little with the character of Dunstan. When the book goes out of its way to show just how awesome Lee’s double is, it’s more than just a little awkward and distracts quite a bit from the plot. Even with these distractions, though, this remains a solid entry to the series, and one that sets the stage for more interesting events in the future.
Content Grade: B
Art Grade: B+
Package Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 16+
Released by: Viz Media
Release Date: August 7th, 2012