Gunsmith Cats Revised Vol. #02 - Mania.com



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Mania Grade: B

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Info:

  • Art Rating: A
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Dark Horse
  • MSRP: 16.95
  • Pages: 464
  • ISBN: 1-59307-768-8
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left
  • Series: Gunsmith Cats Revised

Gunsmith Cats Revised Vol. #02

By John Zakrzewski     January 22, 2008
Release Date: May 30, 2007



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kenichi Sonoda
Translated by:Dana Lewis & Toren Smith
Adapted by:

What They Say
Rally Vincent and Minnie-May Hopkins run a gunsmith shop in Chicago by the day... but they have a side business as bounty hunters, and there are none better than they are. That's rare for two girls in their late teens! But you can bet Kenichi Sonoda will make you want to believe it.

The Review
Picking up where the previous installment left off, Gunsmith Cats Revised Edition Volume 2 opens with Rally and May back on the trail of Grey, a big time drug lord the two feisty bounty hunters had finally managed to capture after several tense tussles. The one-handed felon who’d been running his operation from the slammer decided the time had come to breakout, and only the girls have the inside info to put this lame bird back in his cage.

Playing out as an extended action sequence beginning with a high-speed pursuit of the fleeing Grey then dovetailing into a penultimate dockside showdown that moves the setting from Chicago all the way to New York City, these first couple chapters finish the primary storyline begun in Volume One. They’re also the edition’s most enjoyable material, carrying over momentum from the first book and keeping both protagonists in the narrative spotlight.

Things get a little funky from there on out. Once Grey’s been dealt with, focus shifts to a new villain, Goldie. Yet another drug pusher, Goldie’s a ruthless Sicilian mobster who’s come to Chicago in an attempt to flood its streets with a nasty designer drug she’s created called “kerasine;” combining the properties of several drugs like heroine and LSD, “kerasine” also has hypnotic attributes, allowing a user to become completely brainwashed under the right circumstances.

Gunsmith Cats takes a decidedly darker, and more exaggerated, tone with the introduction of this dangerous female nemesis. Where earlier chapters retained an air of realism partially due to a rogues gallery stocked with stereotypical thugs and killers, Goldie brings a more fictitious bend to the series thanks to her significantly more flamboyant persona: physically imposing, calculating, and utterly domineering, a trait illustrated by her lesbian harem of mind controlled sex slaves.

The initial setup for this arc is rather conventional, involving an attempt to leak information concerning Goldie and her drug to the feds; it’s only after the first run-in with the Gunsmith duo that the story goes overboard. Goldie becomes infatuated with Rally and soon hatches a plot to get her hooked on “kerasine,” turning the attractive do-gooder into a willing henchman and personal plaything.

The Mafioso’s plan results in a volume so heavily concerned with Rally that the rest of the cast, specifically May, get pushed to the absolute fringes, losing the interplay between the two bounty hunters that provides so much of the series’ entertainment. In its absence, we follow a usually solo Rally, mentally and physically pushed to her limits during the battle against Goldie. Even when everyone comes together near the final pages, Volume Two still glosses over the other characters in favor of keeping our attention squarely directed towards the would-be-sex-slave’s plight.

Noticeably missing, especially when compared to the roller-coaster ride found in the initial chapters, is the series’ rollicking, lighthearted feel, replaced by a creeping dread and sense of depression. Certainly, the Goldie portions are even more intense than previous segments, but they’re just not as fun. With stakes as high as they’ve ever been, it also doesn’t help that the payoff comes across as false; the final confrontation ultimately feels too convenient when one considers the amount of mayhem caused along the way.

But even at its bleakest, Gunsmith Cats never completely loses its charm. Helping matters is artwork even stronger than in the first volume; one can see creator Kenichi Sonoda has settled into a grove, with characters feeling more solidly three-dimensional and action scenes absolutely full of palpable kinetic energy. Gunsmith Cats Revised Edition Volume 2 might be something of a downer from a story perspective, featuring darker themes loaded with sexualized imagery, but the series looks great and moves briskly enough that even the gloomiest bits don’t stick around for too long. While not as captivating, Volume Two is still a decent read.

Reviewed By John H. Zakrzewski

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