Biomega Vol. #01 (Mania.com)
Review Date: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, February 02, 2010
Cool and stylish, but little else
Writer/Artist: Tsutomu Nihei
Translation: John Werry
What They Say
The N5S virus has swept across the earth, turning most of the population into zombie-like drones. Zoichi Kanoe, an agent of Toa Heavy Industry, is humanity's last hope, and he's not even human! With the help of Fuyu, an artificial intelligence built into the computer system of his Heavy Duty Coil motorcycle, Zoichi's search for the key to salvation will take him on a journey across surreal landscapes and hurl him into battle against mind-bending evil.
Zoichi Kanoe plunges into the depths of 9JO - an island city in the middle of the Pacific Ocean - in search of Eon Green, a girl with the power to transmute the N5S virus. He's not the only one looking for her, though... Agents of the Public Health Service's Compulsory Execution Unit are also in hot pursuit. Zoichi and his transhuman allies have no time to waste; the countdown to the zombie apocalypse has begun!
The cover on Biomega is a nice one, showing off the two main characters on a motorcycle against a plain white background, and certainly gives you a good feel for the detailed, gritty style of the book. The back cover, however, I found to be even nicer than the front, containing a pinkish image of a woman drawn in a style that would seductive… if she wasn’t starting to rot. It’s a great little image that really manages to grab your attention, and I absolutely love it.
Being a Viz Signature book, this book is granted the benefit of a bigger size and all around nicer paper quality than most releases. The sound effects here are replaced by stylized translated text, and everything reads smoothly. Honorifics do not appear, but due to the general look and feel of the book I wouldn’t be surprised if they weren’t in the original version either (however, lacking the original release to compare, I cannot say for certain.)
Things aren’t looking so good in the year 3005, as some sort of zombie virus seems to be spreading rapidly over the Earth, forcing mankind to the brink of extinction. Entire cities have been taken over by the infected, and our hero Zoichi Kanoe finds himself entering one such location on behalf of Toa Heavy Industries in order to protect what little human life is left. He soon finds himself running into a young girl, Eon Green (literally… with his motorcycle.) He fends off the undead closing in on them, only to find that she has already healed. It turns out the she’s an “accommodator” of the virus, which means she is able to keep her form and sanity while being infected. However, before our hero can ask her any questions, Eon’s friend, a talking bear, comes to take her away.
A few run-ins occur with the Public Health Service’s Compulsory Execution Unit (they execute the infected, and aren’t exactly the nicest folks around) in which Eon is captured, the bear is injured, and Zoichi rescues the bear. We find out that Zoichi is an artificial human, the bear’s name is Kozlov L Grebnev, and that there’s a spaceship full of infected “spores” in Earth’s orbit that will soon spread them and infect the entire planet.
Zoichi goes after the Compulsory Execution Unit to rescue Eon, but ends up sidetracked when they launch ballistic missiles at shelters for the remaining human beings around the world in order to use the accommodators to create a “new race.” Zoichi takes them down in a ridiculous manner, the Execution Squad escapes with Eon, and the volume ends.
Honestly, the above summary can only give you the tiniest glimpse at what this book is about. While there is a bit of a plot running throughout the story, it’s all rather over the top or cliché and is thrown at you randomly in large chunks (there’s even a chapter that goes without a single line of dialogue, and several others that come close). To put it simply, this book is about making something that is just plain “cool.” You have motorcycles being ridden off roofs, talking bears with guns, and a ton of crazy looking zombies. None of this really makes for a great plot, but it DOES make for some really neat little action scenes. Not only that, but the designs and art in this book look great and really display the action well. If you’re looking for sophistication, you’d better look elsewhere, but if you’re willing to turn off your brain and ignore the rather thin plot, then you’ll likely have a lot of fun with this book.
Mania Grade: B+
Art Rating: A+
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translation Rating: B+
Age Rating: 17 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
Orientation: Right to Left