Pop Culture Gadabout
Sunday, March 07, 2010
      ( 3/07/2010 01:53:00 PM ) Bill S.  


“YOU WITH A COMPULSORY EXECUTION UNIT?” A crisp “Mature”-rated sci-fi horror series, Tsutomu Nihei’s Biomega (Viz Signature) doesn’t waste any time plunging us into the action. Set a thousand years in the future, it opens on Earth’s “first manned flight to Mars in seven centuries.” Why so long between trips? We’re not told in the first volume, though it could have something to do with the virus that the space travelers bring back home. Called the N5S infection, it quickly spreads across the planet, transforming most of its carriers into droopy decaying zombies with extra bits of this-and-that dangling from their bodies. Cut to six months later, and we're following Zouichi Kanoe, a motorcycle riding agent for Toa Heavy Industries as he tries to navigate his way through the wasted city of a Pacific island, looking for a girl named Eon Green.

In addition to Kanoe, young Eon is also being pursued by agents of the Public Health Service, who appear to have sinister designs. Eon, we learn, is an “Accommodator” of the N5S virus, which means she has it but has not transmuted into a mindless “Drone.” As a carrier, she also appears to have the ability to rapidly regenerate parts of herself: small wonder that competing interests wanna get a hold of her. Protecting her from both groups is a talking Russian bear(!) named Kozlov Loewic Grebnev. He carries Eon to a castle-like Maxi-Security Containment Facility, but her presence draws the zombie Drones as well as the blank masked agents of the PHS.

There’s not much more plot than that in the first volume -- though we’re given hints of a third player called the Data Recovery Foundation which may know more about the N5S virus than it’s telling. Instead, Nihei provides a series of visually arresting action sequences and grotty looking zombies, as Kanoe careens his motorcycle though Nihei’s sinisterly towering architectural landscape. There are a lotta extended wordless sequences in this manga -- the most striking features Kanoe’s rescue of Kozlov from the exploding Containment Facility -- but not much character detail in this opening entry. The only two figures who display even a fraction of emotion in the first volume are the bear and a distraught newsman who provides much of the exposition. Our cycle-straddling hero largely remains a cipher in the first book, though we’re given hints that he, too, is somehow “enhanced.”

Nihei’s handling of his imposing future landscape, kinetic skirmishes, and quirky plot details commands our attention so strongly that you don’t really mind that you haven’t been given a whole lot of solid information in the first book. (The faceless PHS agents are a particular enigma.) Whether he can maintain this over the course of multiple volumes remains to be seen, but his handling of the opening is slick enough to get lover of horror action coming back for the next few books at least. Me, I’m hoping for some of that bear's back story.

Labels:

# |



Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



On Sale Now!
Measure by Measure:



A Romantic Romp with the Fat and Fabulous
By Rebecca Fox & William Sherman

(Available through Amazon)

Measure by Measure Web Page







Ask for These Fine Cultural Blogs & Journals by Name!

aaronneathery.com News
Aaron Neathery

American Sideshow Blow-Off
Marc Hartzman

Arf Lovers
Craig Yoe

Attentiondeficitdisorderly
Sean T. Collins

Barbers Blog
Wilson Barbers

The Bastard Machine
Tim Goodman

The Beat
Heidi MacDonald

BeaucoupKevin
Kevin Church

Big Fat Blog
Paul McAleer

Big Mouth Types Again
Evan Dorkin

Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog
Laura "Tegan" Gjovaag

Blog This, Pal!
Gordon Dymowski

Bookgasm
Rod Lott

Cartoon Brew
Amid Amidi & Jerry Beck

Cartoon Web Log!
Daryl Cagle

Clea's Cave
Juana Moore-Overmyer

Collected Editions

The Comics Curmudgeon
Josh Fruhlinger

The Comics Reporter
Tom Spurgeon

Comics.212
Christopher Butcher

Comics Waiting Room
Marc Mason

Comics Worth Reading
Johanna Draper Carlson

a dragon dancing with the Buddha
Ben Varkentine

Egon

Electromatic Radio
Matt Appleyard Aaron Neathery

Estoreal
RAB

Eye of the Goof
Mr. Bali Hai

Fred Sez
Fred Hembeck

Greenbriar Picture Shows
John McElwee

The Groovy Age of Horror
Curt Purcell

The Hooded Utilitarian
Noah Berlatsky

Hooray for Captain Spaulding
Daniel Frank

The Horn Section
Hal

The House Next Door
Matt Zoller Seitz

Howling Curmudgeons
Greg Morrow & Friends

The Hurting
Tim O'Neil

I Am A Child of Television
Brent McKee

I Am NOT the Beastmaster
Marc Singer

In Sequence
Teresa Ortega

Innocent Bystander
Gary Sassaman

Irresponsible Pictures
Pata

Jog - The Blog
Joe McCulloch

The Johnny Bacardi Show
David Allen Jones

Journalista
Dirk Deppey

King's Chronicles
Paul Dini

Let's You And Him Fight
One of the Jones Boys

Mah Two Cents
Tony Collett

Metrokitty
Kitty

Michael's Movie Palace
Michael

Nat's TV
Nat Gertler

Ned Sonntag

Neilalien

News from ME
Mark Evanier

No Rock&Roll Fun
Simon B

Omega Channel
Matt Bradshaw

Pen-Elayne on the Web
Elayne Riggs

PeterDavid.net
Peter David

(postmodernbarney.com)
Dorian White

Progressive Ruin
Mike Sterling

Punk Rock Graffiti
Cindy Johnson & Autumn Meredith

Revoltin' Developments
Ken Cuperus

Rhinoplastique
Marc Bernardin

Scrubbles
Matt Hinrichs

Self-Styled Siren
Campaspe

Spatula Forum
Nik Dirga

Tales from the Longbox
Chris Mosby

TangognaT

The Third Banana
Aaron Neathery & Friends

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear
Ivan G. Shreve, Jr.

Toner Mishap
B2 et al

Trusty Plinko Stick
Bill Doughty

TV Barn
Aaron Barnhart et al

Unqualified Offerings
Jim Henley

Various And Sundry
Augie De Blieck

Video WatchBlog
Tim Lucas

When Fangirls Attack
Kalinara & Ragnell

X-Ray Spex
Will Pfeifer

Yet Another Comics Blog
Dave Carter



A Brief Political Disclaimer:

If this blog does not discuss a specific political issue or event, it is not because this writer finds said event politically inconvenient to acknowledge - it's simply because he's scatterbrained and irresponsible.




My Token List of Poli-Blogs:

Alicublog
Roy Edroso

Eschaton
Atrios

Firedoglake
Jane Hamsher

James Wolcott

Lance Mannion

The Moderate Voice
Joe Gandelman

Modulator
Steve

Pandagon
Amanda Marcotte & Friends

The Sideshow
Avedon Carol

Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo
Skippy

Talking Points Memo
Joshua Micah Marshall

This Modern World
Tom Tomorrow

Welcome to Shakesville
Melissa McEwan & Friends



Blogcritics: news and reviews
Site Feed



Powered by Blogger



Twittering:
    follow me on Twitter