Friday, November 27, 2009

Biomega vol. 1 Impression

Biomega volume 1 manga
It’s a good thing a picture is worth a thousand words, a creed that Tsutomu Nihei seems to live by. Biomega volume 1 from Viz is packed with action and gritty art but it’s very light on the text, a trait that in no way takes away from action that feels like a cross between Resident Evil, Dead Space, Ergo Proxy and Blade Runner.

The Earth is infected by a virus which turns humans into drones, zombies, which wander the land looking to feed. The only immune humans are called Accommodators, and it’s not they are immune, but rather they retain control of their emotions, who they are, after being infected. One such Accommodator is now the target of Zoichi Kanoe, essentially a bounty hunter under contract of Toa Heavy Industry to protect her with one small issue. A rival company, the DRF is also in pursuit of Eon Green, and they have employed their execution units, modified and transhuman soldiers to recover her. As Zoichi searches for Eon on his motorcycle he encounters a very intelligent bear, insanely strong soldiers, tons of zombies and a plot that could change the course of human evolution. With his trusty, remote, sidekick Zoichi must rescue Eon and save her from the experimentation that is to come.

Lots of comparisons, some tie to look, others to story. The art style is dark and gritty and lacks the sharp strokes of a ‘read for anime’ manga style. This feels much more like a story sketched out but not lacking in detail. There is a similarity to the Dead Space comics and some of the baddies look pulled from Ergo Proxy. The weapons and some of the desolate settings remind of Blade Runner, not as high-tech, but just that desolate feeling. The zombies, design as well as story of a spreading virus and corrupt corporations pull in both Resident Evil and Dead Space for the space born origins of the virus. Biomega is a quick read, but it warrants a patient eye to look at the art, the subtle detail passed over on the first read. It’s a mature title for sure but the gunplay, swords on motorcycle and even bigger gun on missile play is a joy to read.

Sometimes a manga just hits all the right cords. It’s not the most beautifully drawn epic and does not contain jaw dropping story detail, but it just works and works well. Biomega unleashes so much potential in this first volume and from the start the action ramps up to crazy levels that I hope don’t stop.

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