By Leroy Douresseaux
Dec 14, 2007 - 13:14
|Thanks to Amazon.com for the image.|
CARTOONIST: Tsutomu Nihei
TRANSLATION: Stephen Paul
ENGLISH ADAPTATION: Nathan Johnson
ISBN: 978-1-4278-0303-0; paperback; Sci-fi; Rated “OT” for “Older Teen-Age 16+”
192 pp., B&W, $9.99
Tsutomu Nihei is a manga creator who may already be familiar to American comic book readers for his Marvel Comics work: the five-issue mini-series, Wolverine: Snikt (reprinted as Wolverine Legends Volume 5: Snikt!, and a short story in the Halo Graphic Novel). NOiSE collects Nihei’s shorter manga work, including the novella, “NOiSE.”
“NOiSE,” which is a prequel to Nihei’s ten-volume series, Blame!, stars Detective Mosubi Susuno. She is investigating a series of child kidnappings, when during a raid, her partner Kloser is spirited away by a dark figure. Mosubi tracks down the killer, who calls himself “The Order.” He unleashes a “silicon creature,” a bio-mechanical, cybernetic fighter, to attack her. It is only with an energy blade weapon she recently found that Mosubi is able to save herself. Mosubi’s continued investigation takes her deep into a giant conspiracy involving “The Order” and something called the “Netsphere,” which may destroy her and all normal life on the planet.
[Also included in this volume is a five page work entitled “Negative Corridor,” and “Blame,” Nihei’s debut comics work and an early version of the BLAME series.]
THE LOWDOWN: NOiSE is less a narrative than it is a mouth-watering taste of a larger meal. Like a poem based upon impressions of things to come, NOiSE is a sneak peek – a visual journey through a trippy sci-fi universe, preparing readers for the bigger thing. Still, what’s lost in story, Tsutomu Nihei makes up for with a heady brew of dark sci-fi images. Nihei’s drawings are like a heaping helping of H.R. Giger with a splash of style similar to the sketchbook work fantasy/horror author Clive Barker. When Nihei composed this, he seemed to have called upon what are pretty much the visual standard bearers in science fiction filmmaking: Akira, Blade Runner, and The Terminator. Dark imagery is rarely so dazzling and radiant, and this is so much so that you’ll forgive the narrative flaws of these stories.
THE LOWDOWN: Considered seinen manga (comics for adult men), NOiSE is something any fan of science fiction comics, even younger teens, should experience.