cover image Search and Destroy

Search and Destroy

Atsushi Kaneko, trans. from the Japanese by Ben Applegate. Fantagraphics, $14.99 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-1-68396-932-7

Kaneko (Bambi and Her Pink Gun) outdoes himself with this gonzo sci-fi reimagining of Osamu Tezuka’s classic manga series Dororo. In Kaneko’s hands, the feudal Japanese setting of Tezuka’s original becomes a futuristic dystopia with a Soviet brutalist aesthetic. In the aftermath of a war between humans and androids known as Kreachers, Doro, a snarky child thief, runs afoul of the gang lords who rule a snowbound city. He falls in with Hyaku, a young woman dressed in animal hides who’s out to retrieve body parts she believes were stolen from her by Kreachers. The story is packed with wall-to-wall action, stunningly and gruesomely rendered: explosions, bloody assassinations, wild animal attacks, underground cyborg surgery, a fight on top of a speeding semitruck. But beneath the bloodshed is a deceptively well-structured story about injustice, revenge, and the blurred lines between organic life and technology. Kaneko is heavily influenced by American artists like Coop, Frank Kozik, and Charles Burns, as Frederico Anzalone notes in his introduction, and there are even elements of Will Eisner in the book’s rambling cityscapes. It’s a blast of pure cyberpunk energy. (July)