Unfortunately, due to a printing error, Tokyopop needs to reprint all copies of the manga. They decided to postpone the physical release date to March 12.
Ubisoft Film & Television's Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix Crushing Love, digital version out today, is a TokyoPop manga written by Ben Kahn (Immortals Fenyx Rising: From Great Beginnings). Set in the same universe as Netflix's Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix, Crushing Love is a prequel story of how Dolph Laserhawk went from the Hero of Eden to rebel without a cause. In the graphic novel, Dolph walks through the best and worst memories of his life and attempts to reconcile with being betrayed by the love of his life.
According to the show's creator and executive producer Adi Shankar, the conventional choice for a story set in Dolph's past might have been a gritty, action-oriented comic book, but he wanted to take a "bold swing, creatively" to instead focus on the love story between Dolph and Alex Taylor.
"In the show, we meet Dolph and Alex at the very end of their love story, and it's unclear how much of their tale up to that point was genuine, and how much was calculated manipulation on the part of Alex," says Shankar. "That's something Dolph secretly wonders, and he never really gets an answer. This book gave us an opportunity to explore their relationship, both the wholesome and toxic parts, in much greater detail."
According to Kahn, manipulation was one of the key themes he wanted to explore in this story, along with how Alex's controlling influence had always been part of the relationship, even when Alex and Dolph were at their happiest: "My north star working on this story, especially given the themes of the show, was that Dolph discovers the most important decision of his life - leaving Eden for good - he didn't actually make it."
Kahn adds that as much as Crushing Love is a story about how Dolph left Eden for the love of his life, it's also a story about how Alex went from simple criminal to a radical against Eden willing to betray someone he loves. "Alex is on a journey that takes him to a place where he's willing to sell out the person who initially inspired him," Kahn says.
Shankar agrees: "I hope readers come away understanding Alex better, both the ways in which he supported Dolph and the ways in which he was controlling and abusive. Relationships like theirs exist in the real world too, and it's not always easy to identify when there's a problem at the center of it."
As an added twist, Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix Crushing Love is set between the fourth and fifth episodes of the Netflix show. Marcus Holloway is using the Wasteland VR system to probe into Dolph's past to better understand him, and as a result, he and Dolph are able to provide commentary.
"It was fun showing Alex and Dolph in the moments of the blossoming days of their romance, and then kind of zooming back to present day Dolph and Marcus to say 'you know, that was pretty messed up, right? You know that wasn't actually a romantic thing, right?'" says Kahn. "I hope it gives a lot more context and emotional connection to the characters and makes it all seem a bit more tragic. The name of the game is pain - as much pain as possible," he laughs. "We're trying to go full Nicole Kidman at AMC: heartbreak feels good in a comic like this."
Because this story takes place within the show, Shankar and Kahn hope it adds context for viewers for the latter episodes, as the book adds character depth for both Dolph and Alex. "It was all about making sure he was in a place to finally choose a path for himself when we got to episodes 5 and 6," says Kahn. "When you get to the end of the season and he truly starts living and fighting for himself, it feels that much more powerful knowing he's finally beginning to overcome a lifetime of horrible abuse."
Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix is full of Ubisoft characters from games like Beyond Good and Evil, Splinter Cell, Rayman, and more, and Crushing Love will introduce even more into the world of Eden. Lucy Stillman, Fenyx, and Segundo all make appearances to some degree - though in true Captain Laserhawk form, they are remixed versions of their game selves.
"Ubisoft has been great about letting us repurpose titles and characters from their entire catalog, and we took full advantage of that to stuff these pages with fun worldbuilding," says Shankar. "Some are obvious references, and some are really deep cuts."
Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix Crushing Love is available now, and you can watch Captain Laserhawk: A Blood Dragon Remix exclusively on Netflix.