Review by: Sophie Stevens
Publisher: VIZ Media
Author: Tsutomu Nihei
Genre: Graphic Novel (VIZ Signature)
MSRP: $12.99 US
Rating: M (Mature)
Release Date: Now Available
Zombie apocalypse and talking grizzly bears … yep, it’s the end of the world as we know it.
I am indeed a sucker for a good zombie apocalypse story and I’ve seen my share of them and loved just a handful of them that struck me as brilliantly original. So, you see, Biomega is the type of manga I would rush out to buy and seeing as the talented Tsutomu Nihei is involved it peaked my interest even more. Volume 1 of Biomega might have its flaws but it is still a zombie series with some, well, bite.
In 3005 A.D., a space mission to Mars has astronauts exploring the remains of an abandoned station when the astronauts make a most startling discovery. Six months later, a lone figure on a sleek futuristic motorcycle is heading towards the gates of a massive city on lockdown. The city itself is industrial-like and uninviting but the young man clad in black named Zoichi Kanoe is determined to get inside.
His mission is to locate a girl that his employers at Toa Heavy Industries call Eon Green as well as the help purge the city of the zombie horde that is infected by a virus known as the N5S virus. The zombies, or Drones, are everywhere and as Zoichi kills his way along the stretch of road in the city, he runs into the very person he was sent to find. Unfortunately, he literally runs into her at high speeds with his motorcycle. The impact of the collision leaves the girl badly injured and to Zoichi she looks dead but she begins to heal right before his eyes.
Zoichi’s motorcycle comes complete with a digitized intelligence holograph named Fuyu who tells him that that the girl is most definitely Eon and the fact that the zombie drones seem drawn to her confirms it. On top of that, a grizzly bear appears and is aiming a rifle at Zoichi. Oh, that’s not all, the grizzly actually talks and is watching over Eon like an overprotective father.
It seems that Eon and the talking grizzly named Kozlov have holed up in a sort of fortress but when a dangerous agent from the Public Health Services’ deadly Compulsory Execution Unit who fights Kozlov and leaves the poor grizzly to his fate at the fortress begins to fall apart. Thankfully, Zoichi arrives on time to save Kozlov but the agent, a being that looks just as freakish as the zombie, manages to get away with Eon Green. Kozlov also finds out that there’s more to Zoichi than meets the eye because he can certainly take quite a beating.
Determined to get Eon Green back, Zoichi makes a number of discovers including the fact that getting Eon back is important thanks to the fact that she is an Accomodator that not only has the N5S virus but she hasn’t turned into a mindless zombie in the process. This also makes her the target of the Public Health Services who have their own plans for Eon Green and others like her.
Unfortunately, time has run out for Zoichi as Earth discovers that the astronauts that headed out to Mars have attempted to reach Earth. The trouble with that is that the crew was infected with the virus and are floating above the planet spreading the deadly virus spores down to Earth. Missiles have been launched to destroy the last populated areas and it is up to Zoichi to stop the missiles before it wipes out everything in its path.
The story is told visually rather than filling each panel with heavy dialogue to advance the story along. While this is acceptable enough, we really don’t learn anything about the characters or their personalities. When a talking bear seems more interesting than the hero of the story you know there’s something wrong. Then again, this is but the first volume and it’s over-the-top violence and interesting visual style make this an intriguing series with a lot of promise.
Volume 1 of Biomega certainly isn’t without its problems but would you really want to miss out on awesome zombie carnage or a talking bear with a sniper rifle? Bizarre as it sounds, the series does manage to be original and strikingly easy on the eyes and you can bet we will keep our eyes on this one.
MANGA REVIEW BREAKDOWN
In a world stricken by a most unusual virus called N5S that has turned most of Earth‘s inhabitants into zombie drones, an operative riding a futuristic motorcycle is searching for girl who might hold the key to humanity’s salvation. However, another group wants to find the girl for their own shocking purpose.
Tsutomu Nihei’s art doesn’t rely on the typical and looks good enough that even mainstream comic aficionados can enjoy it. The series is downright violent so it certainly earns its Mature rating.
An intriguing first volume in a series that has yet to show us its true colors, Volume 1 of Biomega is actually interesting enough that if you like zombies and visceral action scenes then you are in luck. It’s too bad that no background is offered for the main characters but you just have to love a manga that offers space-infected zombies and a talking grizzly.
Review copy provided by VIZ Media