Is there life on Mars?
Certain genres always seem played out, until someone comes along and shows us that there are still some interesting stories to be wrung out of a popular scenario. Just when I though I couldn’t get hooked on another “engineered virus turns people into zombies” -post-apocalyptic scenario…
And that is “Biomega.” Author Tsutomu Nihei shows again that style matters when delving into already-covered territory. His Sci-Fi/Zombie Horror manga is an intense series that combines the cyberpunk creed of “high tech and low life” with deeper speculations and a few bizarre non sequiturs like the transformed Grizzly Bear Grebnev, all wrapped up in some beautiful art.
Volume 4 keeps up the pace with Zoichi hunting for Eon Green and trying to prevent the release of the pollen that will fertilize the ovule and bring about a transformation of the Earth. Some secrets are revealed, like Niarudi’s Martian origins and some of the goals of the DRF. After the battle, there are even more surprises awaiting Zoichi, and it is safe to say that things will never be the same again. I don’t want to give too much away but there is big stuff going on in volume 4.
Nihei’s art in “Biomega” is just cool. I dig old-school hard sci fi, and Nihei does things on an epic scale. His space scenes are incredible, and he gives a vast sense of distance and size on a small comic page. Obviously, his action scenes are amazing as well, as that is what he is best known for. Zoichi driving up the side of a wall on her motorcycle while locked into battle with a massive bioorganism makes for a great visual.
Viz does a good job with “Biomega,” and gets extra props for including the color pages that are usually rendered in black-and-white. The only thing I would really like to see is some sort of character/story re-cap at the beginning, or maybe a glossary for some of the terms used here. <em>Biomega</em> has a pretty high bar of entry, and if you don’t start off with volume one, page one then it is difficult to pick up. This is alright if you have been a fan from the beginning, but if you are just browsing in a book store and pick up the latest volume then it might seem a little too overwhelming.