Thursday, April 14, 2016

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire - Volume 01

I am not a big fan of Manga.  I'm not particularly fond of the art style, and quite frankly, I have a difficult time transitioning from left to right reading into right to left.  I have read very few Manga over the years, and I own even fewer (The Dreaming being a rare series that I have, and that is done in American-style so that it reads from left to right).  So, when I first saw that Viz Media was coming out with a Resident Evil series, I was a bit leery.  I absolutely love Resident Evil - the books, the movies, the games.  So I debated, and with a coupon for Barnes & Noble, I decided to give it a chance.

I'm going to admit, it was a bit of a struggle at first.  I knew that you read the book starting at what we, as Americans, traditionally think of as the "back" of the book and work your way to the "front" - but I didn't realize that on each page, you also had to read starting with the right panel and work your way left.  I was actually three pages into it before I realized that was the reason the dialogue wasn't exactly making sense - duh!  But, once I got a handle on that, the more pages I read, the easier it became.

This first volume of the series is pretty much a set up for the story.  Someone has released the infamous T-Virus at the Marhawa School.  University professor Doug Wright and his nephew, Ricky Tozawa head to the isolated school when Wright is contacted by the headmistress, who is an old friend.  But Mother Gracia has changed greatly since Wright first knew her, and she is more interested in protecting the school's reputation than the students, which doesn't sit too well with Wright - particularly after Ricky is bit by an infected zombie!

The art is not what I would call "typical" Manga art.  There are no cutesy-little drawings of midget-size people waving their arms with big eyes.  There are no panels with huge exclamation points or other symbols around the characters' heads.  Rather, the people look like people (rather attractively drawn people at that!) and the settings are very detailed.  The zombies are grotesque (as they should be) without being caricatures, and while there are only a few scenes in this first volume with zombies, they definitely powerful enough to set the tone for the series.

It's great to see Chris Redfield back in action, even though he is only in a few pages.  He appears to have a new team (or perhaps I just don't recognize them, as I haven't kept up with the games lately).  Regardless, can't wait to see them arrive at the Marhawa School in time to fight some zombies.  I'll also be curious to see who exactly is behind this particular outbreak.

Definitely a number of subplots set up, and with only five volumes in the series, there's no doubt the plot will move fast and the action will be wild.

RATING:  9 blood-stained zombies out of 10 for providing a great Resident Evil fix while I wait for the next movie to come out!

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