Well, we've come to the last and most recent of the Evangelion spinoff manga. I wasn't exactly excited to see Dark Horse putting out yet ANOTHER comedy collection, but this one made more than a solid case for itself.
TONY TAKEZAKI'S NEON GENESIS EVANGELION (Tony Takezaki no Neon Genesis Evangelion), by Tony Takezaki. First published in 2011 and first published in North America in 2015.
Once more, we have a collection of comic selections staring the cast of Evangelion in situations that you've never seen before. This collection of stories riff on everything from the next episode previews to the early days of NERV to the extremes of the relationships between the EVA pilots, all in one single collection!
So once again, I find myself looking at an Evangelion comic collection from Dark Horse, with the big difference being that these jokes are all from one person instead of a number of them. That fact is probably the biggest reason that this collection is better than Comic Tribute. A single authorial voice means that the tone is more consistent and the jokes are longer, more elaborate, and better thought-out. It's weird to think that a guy mostly known for working on A.D. Police and Genocyber could produce something so funny?
Takezaki tends to favor long jokes which works a lot in this collection's favor. He's willing to let situations snowball into something bigger and more ridiculous which in turn lets the laughs grow from mild chuckles to uproarious laughter. It also means that he doesn't have to rely so much on meta humor, which means that this book is more friendly to Evangelion newcomers than Comic Tribute. That's not to say that the humor doesn't get self-referential or immature. There's also a fair share of fanservice, references to S&M and other forms of kinky sex, and even some toilet humor when Unit 01 goes...well...ape-shit.
It's also clear that Takezaki has some favorites amongst the cast, as they tend to be the ones who feature more prominently in the chapters. Of the main trio, he has the most fun with Asuka and her hair-trigger temper (as well as her language skill). Amongst the older cast, he's clearly fond of both Misato and Ritsuko, but moreso than any others he's clearly very fond of Fuyutsuki. No matter whether it's his gentle yet valiant effort to stop all the silly fanservice or (my personal favorite) his days of working with Gendo and a teenaged Ritsuko during the early days of NERV, something which for reasons known only to Gendo requires costumed mascots and a live tokusatsu-style stage show. He takes so much abuse, but he's so innately dignified it makes everything that much funnier. I would have never thought to make a secondary character like him the butt of so many jokes, but it works brilliantly.
I wasn't expecting much from this, but in the end I was pleasantly surprised. The jokes work because they're well-structured and written and don't just coast on references and panties. As far as humor goes, this is clearly the superior Evangelion gag manga.
Takezaki is also a surprisingly decent artist. It's not just that he's good at drawing gags, but his slightly looser, rounder take on the Evangelion cast is appealing. He even goes so far as to recreate some of the more iconic shots from the show as well as End of Evangelion. Yet at the same time he's also great at drawing big, over-the-top reactions and physical humor. No matter how chaotic things might get in each chapter, he always ensures that the action is easy to follow and that the jokes never get drowned out. Comedy manga often tends to be an excuse for manga artists to get a little lazy and loose, but Takezaki forsakes a lot of super-deformed shortcuts, and the work is much better for it.
Takezaki's Eva comedy manga is the superior Evangelion gag manga. It's more focused, more approachable, better looking, and just better executed all around.
This book is published by Dark Horse. It is currently in print.