ALIEN NINE: Book One

Hitoshi Tomizawa, Author, Hitoshi Tomizawa, Illustrator . CPM Manga $15.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-58664-891-6

As if sixth grade weren't filled with enough academic and social problems for the average 12-year-old, some of the students in Elementary 9 have the added worry of saving the world—or at least their school district—from alien monsters. Every year since the aliens first made contact some 14 years ago, a select group of students are elected to be the "alien party." This group of three protectors must bond with an alien "borg" to save the school and the surrounding area. Alien party members Kasumi and Kumi know what they're getting in to when they are elected to this position; but the third member, Yuri, doesn't. Yuri is terrified, not only of the job and its responsibilities, but also of her symbiotic alien partner who now lives off of her body's waste materials. Although aliens bonding with humans to be a type of superhero or savior isn't new in manga, taking precocious pre-teens, dressing them in skater gear, adding an almost-adorable alien headpiece and letting the new team supreme loose to snag aliens breaks from the standard "boy-bonds-with-alien-and-defeats-enemies" motif. Tomizawa is a minimalist with most of the art, but when he does open up on a panel or page, his art is bold and effective. In an interview at the end of this work, he says he's a science fiction fan, and astute readers will see nods to Larry Niven, Star Trek and many other sci-fi icons within these pages. (July)

Reviewed on: 06/02/2003
Release date: 05/01/2003
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