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Biomega Volume 1

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Biomega Volume 1

Biomega Volume 1

© 2004 by Tsutomu Nihei / SHUEISHA Inc.

The Bottom Line

In the year 3005 A.D., a virus has infected a city's inhabitants, transforming most of them into zombies. Enter Zoichi Kanoe, a lone warrior on a motorcycle who is sent to find Eon Green, a young girl who has an unusual resistance to the virus. But even with the help of his amped-up cycle and a sentient dashboard computer, Zoichi's mission won't be easy – especially when he's just one man against an army of rapidly mutating monsters.

Dark, violent and visceral, Biomega would be just another kill-'em-all zombie fest if not for Tsutomu Nihei's gorgeous yet gritty artwork that lets the action do the talking.

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Pros

  • A smart and exciting sci-fi epic that offers escapist fun without insulting readers' I.Q.
  • Gorgeous and gritty linework that captures the dark, visceral action of this sci-fi adventure
  • Story is driven by its action and visuals, with a minimum of extraneous dialogue
  • Mixes dark themes with what-the-hell moments that keep it surprising and entertaining
  • Offers grown-up graphic novel artistry that will appeal to both mainstream comics and manga fans

Cons

  • Nihei doesn't offer much insights into Zoichi's personality or motivations
  • Okay, a talking bear? With a rifle? Wha..?

Description

  • Original Title: Biomega (Japan)
  • Author & Artist: Tsutomu Nihei
  • Publishers:
  • ISBN: 978-1421531847
  • Cover Price: $12.99 US / $16.99 CANADA / £ 8.99 UK
  • Age Rating: M – Mature, Age 18+ for graphic violence
    More about content ratings.
  • Manga Genres:
  • US Publication Date: February 2010
    Japan Publication Date: 2004
  • Book Description: 220 pages, black and white illustrations, 2 color pages
  • More Manga by Tsutomu Nihei:
    • Blame
    • NOiSE

Guide Review - Biomega Volume 1

It's the year 3005 A.D. and a manned mission to Mars has landed on the red planet after almost 700 years. As the explorers venture into the ruins of an abandoned base, they make a discovery that has repercussions on Earth.

Several months later, a man on a motorcycle enters a quarantined city and discovers that almost all of its inhabitants have been infected by a disease that has turned them into mutant zombies. Almost all – except for a young girl named Eon Green who might hold the key to saving Earth from this plague. Armed and accompanied by a dashboard computer that's kind a mix between a sexy GPS and Kit from Knight Rider, Zoichi Kanoe encounters horror after horror as he rides through an urban wasteland searching for Eon. As the virus spreads, it becomes clear that hope for humanity is fading fast. Can one man on a motorcycle really make a difference against an army of the undead?

Reading Biomega sometimes feels like playing a first-person shooter video game – the main protagonist Zoichi Kanoe has almost no personality, but he's one of the main catalysts for the plot. Like a classic manly manga hero, Zoichi is a stoic, mostly silent presence in the story – he wastes no time with internal soliloquies or even self-doubt. If there's a zombie, Zoichi is gonna shoot or slash 'em with nary a "Hasta la vista" (or a "Sayonara, sucker") out of his lips. And y'know, that's kind of refreshing.

What's astonishing about Nihei's storytelling is that he lets the action do the talking about 80% of the time. Exposition about what's happening and explanations about why Earth is rapidly turning into a planet of zombies is kept to a bare minimum. Instead, Nihei wisely drops a few hints here and there through thoughtfully-placed visuals, like a photo on a piano or a status screen on a gun. So while it's a little odd to see a talking bear with an automatic rifle, Nihei explains this oddity very matter-of-factly through visuals and minimal dialogue.

And what visuals they are! Nihei's gritty mix of delicate crosshatching and dramatic strokes of black give Biomega a mesmerizing atmosphere that is both elegant and energetic. With each turn of a page, readers are confronted with another strange creature, awe-inspiring vista or jaw-dropping action sequence. While its undeniably a Japanese manga story, Biomega evokes the decadent beauty of the hard sci-fi comics epics featured in Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant magazine in the 1980's.

Dark, violent and visceral, Biomega is manly manga that offers amped-up thrills and escapist fun for both comics and manga fans. Sure, there are lots of WTF moments, like the aforementioned talking bear, and the near miraculous feats Zoichi pulls off with his motorcycle, but these bits of over-the-top absurdity make Biomega an exciting story that's more entertaining than just your usual zombies-on-a-rampage read.

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Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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