In the 19th century, the world has entered the “Era of Rebirth,” as it recovers from a devastating war. Seventeen-year-old Levius Cromwell, who lost his parents to war, is a fighter in the sport of mechanical martial arts (M.M.A.), which has galvanized the nations of the world. Cybernetically augmented fighters turn their blood into steam and their bodies into brutal and sometimes monstrous fighting and killing machines.
As Levius/est, Vol. 2 (Chapters 6 to 11) opens, Levius has reached the top of the league, “Grade 1,” where the matches are infinitely tougher. His former opponent, A.J. Langdon, lives with Levius and his uncle, Zack Cromwell (his father's brother), in disguise as an ordinary young woman. Also with them, is a younger fighter, Natalie Cromwell, who has taken Levius' last name and wants to be his wife.
Meanwhile, Levius has his first “Grade 1” opponent. The “Grade 1 – Rank 1” reigning champion, Oliver E. Kingsley, also known as “the Emperor,” has demanded that Levius fight him. He has never been defeated and to fight him means near-certain death. Kingsley also demands that Levius meet him first before the fight. It seems Kingsley knows something about Levius' father, Daniel Cromwell.
THE LOWDOWN: The Levius/est manga is a sequel to the Levius manga, with both manga being the creation of manga artist, Haruhisa Nakata. I would even call Levius/est a necessary sequel.
Levius/est Graphic Novel Volume 2 is a volume of reveals. It seems that Levius/est, like its predecessor, is a narrative that stays fresh and deepens its sense of mystery by delving into the recent past, which plays such a big part in this current series. Of course, this is a narrative about brutal and deadly combat, and Nakata fills most of the chapters with beautifully drawn and lavish composed fight scenes that crackle with lightning.
John Werry and Jason A. Hurley, on the English script for Levius/est, and Joanna Estep, the letterer, make the most of their moments. After all, this is a manga that does not often need words, but it is strong with out without them. By the way, dear readers, you will learn the meaning of the word “est.”
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of anime and mecha and sci-fi manga will want the VIZ Signature series, Levius/est.