Blame! Volume 1

Tsutomu Nihei, Author, Tsutomu Nihei, Illustrator
Tsutomu Nihei, Author, Tsutomu Nihei, Illustrator . Tokyopop $9.95 (256p) ISBN 978-1-59532-834-2
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Earth. The future. The world has become an endless metal labyrinth, populated by people hunted by unknown forces for their genetic material. Enter Killy, a quiet, dark-clad loner who is looking for the "net terminal genes." What are they? Why is he looking for them? Those are apparently questions for volume 2. Basically, the plot here is a thin MacGuffin on which Nihei hangs a relentless series of chases and gun- and swordfights between Killy and escalating waves of humanoid robots, disfigured mutants and spiny-necked mutated robots with guns for eyes. The art is actually quite good, with an eye for detail and architecture. But with ascending levels, occasional fights and increasingly bigger monsters for Killy to defeat, the storytelling is indistinguishable from old versions of Doom and Duke Nukem. This new manga is likely to appeal to younger male readers jonesing for an adrenaline rush while their PSPs recharge, but it won't be able to compete once their batteries are back at full strength. (Sept.)

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