Wednesday, June 06, 2007

OK, two volumes into the Dark Horse manga Reiko the Body Shop, I'm giving up. I had heard that it was worth the preposterous Japlish title & gore factor, and the first volume gave me some reason to think there might be something there. The grotesque violence and blood-splatter came with a certain vicious-minded willingness to follow through, and I kind of respected that. On the other hand, the artwork was bad enough that a friend, upon looking at it, asked if it was American, and the writing wasn't exactly brilliant.

The second volume, sadly, drops everything that made the first volume marginally interesting. The protagonist is no longer an ice-blooded money-grubbing mercenary who barely cares about the living, nor are we expected to sympathize with the victimized, risen dead as they tear apart living villains. Instead, it's a fight-the-evil-wizard slog of the most generic, cliche-worn thread, teeming with one-trick necromancers & their pet, customized zombies. The zombies aren't aggrieved characters with their own emotional arcs, they're grotesque Pokemon. It's lame.

It's kind of shocking just how lame the second volume is in comparison with the first. Even the way that almost every new character introduced in the second volume is gorily dismembered during the course of the book doesn't make up for the lameness they sprayed all over the walls in their death-throes.

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