The “Era of Rebirth.” The 19th century. The world is recovering from a devastating war. Seventeen-year-old Levius Cromwell lost his parents to war. Now, he 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. 3 (Chapter 12) opens, Levius trains to fight the “Grade 1 – Rank 1” reigning champion, Oliver E. Kingsley, also known as “the Emperor.” It was the Emperor who demanded that Levius fight him. The world is also preparing for this fight to the death, but not everyone is happy. Some believe that it is unfair that “Grade 1 – Rank 13” fighter should skip over those in front of him to fight the champion.
Now, a grand event is being built around Levius and the Emperor's match. It's the world-wide fighting tournament, “the Southern Slam.” During the preliminaries, Levius' ally and former fighter, A.J. Langdon, discovers an incredible young fighter whom she recognizes. And she wonders what he did to himself for the sake of competing in Mechanical Martial Arts.
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, as it seems to have an endgame, both in terms of the title character and his world.
Levius/est Graphic Novel Volume 3 focuses on the preparation for the big bout. However, Nakata also delves into the personality and desires of Natalie Cromwell, the orphan who has attached herself to Levius. She is a character that I have largely ignored, but Nakata focuses so intensely and intently on her that one might think that Levius/est is her story. In a way, it may be, so it is could to see that this series is ambitious from the standpoint of the drama.
John Werry's translation and Jason A. Hurley's English adaptation capture the characters' nuances and also the heat of a confrontation between Levius and his allies against the “law.” Joanna Estep's lettering conveys the passion of this story; it is her work that emphasizes the potential for explosiveness that hangs over this series.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans of anime and mecha and sci-fi manga will want the VIZ Signature series, Levius/est.