Zombie Powder Volume 1 review
Manga-neophyte Matt Haigh dips his toe in Manga comics for the first time. And it's a fairly encouraging start...
Author: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media, Subs. of Shogakukan Inc; 1 edition (4 Aug 2008)
Written by Tite Kubo, Zombie Powder is the story of Gamma Akutabi and his quest for the twelve rings of the dead. When all twelve are brought together, it is thought the owner of these rings will be able to raise the dead, and live forever. Although I’ve been a lover of Japanese Anime and Manga DVDs for many years, I’ve never actually read a Manga comic until now. So, when I first picked up Zombie Powder, I had no knowledge of the Japanese preferring to write from right to left. Subsequently, I began reading the book from the end, but luckily realized my mistake some pages in.
The book opens with Elwood, a young boy who’s been working as a pick-pocket for a criminal gang. He has a terminally ill sister, whom he takes care of. One day, Elwood tries to steal from a man with black armour on his arm, carrying a sword, but ends up taking the man home to dinner instead, as a sort of apology for trying to rob him. All perfectly normal, then.
He learns the man is an experienced bounty hunter in search of twelve rings which supposedly grant the user “zombie powder,” a mythical substance capable of raising the dead. The actions really kicks in when the gang Elwood has been working for turns up in search of Gamma, but ends up killing Elwood’s sister. From this moment on, Elwood swears to bring his sister back to life, and joins Gamma on his quest to find the twelve mystical rings.
This being my first Manga comic, I have nothing to compare it to, but it was an enjoyable read all the same featuring a host of well-drawn (both literally and metaphorically) characters and packed with plenty of explosive action sequences. There is a plot, however it fades into the background really, as about 60% of this comic consists of wall-to-wall action sequences, with people being chopped, stabbed, exploded, punched or otherwise dispatched in a number of colourful ways, which is fun, but perhaps a little over-done here.
Kudos is given for the fact that a new twist is given to the old “I must avenge my dead father” plot, so often seen in Asian media. Overall, this was an enjoyable, fully-realized if not too original read, and I look forward to future volumes to see how the story pans out.