If you were a kid in the '90s and into dinosaurs, 1993 was your year. When Jurassic Park was released, a Pandora’s box of toy figurines, comic books, and video games was unleashed. At school, if you opened up a copy of the Scholastic book club flyer, you’d probably see advertisements for a couple of Choose Your Own Adventure (CYOA) books, including Dinosaur Island by Edward Packard.

Not gonna lie, compadres – this might be the best Westworld episode of all time.  One day after airing, and it has a 9.4 on IMDb.  Avengers: Infinity War (the highest rated film in the franchise) has an 8.8.  The Shape of Water, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture last year, has a 7.4.  The Handmaid’s Tale, which won the Emmy for Best Prime-time Drama series, averages 8.6.  Not that scores mean anything much, I just bring this up to show how much this episode is already becoming a fan and industry favorite.  And count me in on that.  My reaction when the end credits ran was a combination of shock and joy and for the first time in my life (or so I think), I stood up off the couch and just stood there looking at the television, knowing I wanted to do something and not knowing what.  Yeah – I want to marry this episode and have a million of its babies.  It’s that good.  But I don’t want to oversell it.

Welcome back, True Believers!

Howdy, pardners.  Before we git to this week’s hootenanny, some corrections and apologies must be shared.  Last week, the person I called James Delos is actually Karl Strand, which kills me a little, because that name is so rich in meaning.  “Strand” is German for “beach,” as in the place where they found all the dead hosts, and “strand” is English for either “land bordering water,” “to leave behind or abandon,” or “a fiber or filament twisted together to form a unit,” OR “one of the elements interwoven in a complex whole.”  You could not have done more if you named this character “Karl Metaphor.”  He is, after all, the one who said, “How did all these disparate threads come to create this nightmare?”  Karl Strand wants to know the manner in which the strands came together!?!  Damn, people.  

“Fundamental Comics,” a monthly editorial series that introduces readers to comics, graphic novels, and manga that have been impactful to the sequential art medium and the comic book industry on a foundational level.  Each month, a new essay will examine a familiar or lesser-known title through an in-depth analysis, exploring the history of the title, significant themes, and context for the title’s popularity since it was first released.

And welcome to Shogun World.  Mata Irasshaimase!  歴史的な詳細のいくつかは間違っているかもしれません。 私たちのホストはあなたを殺すことをうれしく思います。 私はあなたのニーズに応えることを意味します! (All those years of Japanese in college and grad school are finally paying off!)

“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs at noon, and three in the evening?”

Is everyone sitting comfortably?  Good.  Let’s begin.

I think the showrunners of Westworld binge watched a lot of Game of Thrones during their time off, as Season Two, Episode Two seems like a GoT episode: lots of exposition, four or five running plotlines, nothing resolved, and pawns being moved into place for some crazy stuff three to four episodes from now.  But precious little actually happens.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…..

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