cover image Pluto


Osamu Tezuka, Naoki Urasawa, . . Viz, $12.99 (200pp) ISBN 978-1-4215-1918-0

Any pairing of two masterminds can elicit murmurs of approval—or of apprehension. But all readers can rest assured that in this case, the pairing of seinen manga suspense master Urasawa and legendary cartoonist Tezuka is a very, very good thing. In Pluto , Urasawa takes Tezuka's Pinocchio-inspired Astroboy and reimagines it as a futuristic thriller. Touching on many of the themes in Tezuka's story of a robot boy—the overlap of man and machine, the capacity for artificial intelligence to feel emotion, the true meaning of humanity—Pluto offers adult graphic novel readers (and fans of Urasawa's Monster ) classic, all-ages Tezuka themes in a mature package. Volume one opens with the death (or murder) of the beloved robot hero, Mont Blanc. Merging current-day life with futuristic projections, Urasawa and longtime editor/producer Nagasaki develop a world where robots live among humans, sometimes living as humans—marrying, having children, taking jobs. Hardworking Detective Gesicht is one of those robots. As he slowly unravels the mystery of the death of Mont Blanc—and subsequent, related murders—he uncovers the disturbing news that he will be next. The creators subtly and seamlessly set up Gesicht's world, while digging deep to reveal the strange dichotomy of life and living among artificial beings. For anyone who doesn't believe that there's any good mature manga in the U.S., Pluto is required reading. (Feb.)