Saturday, June 19, 2010

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 13, Part 1

I’m just going to say this up front and be done with it: After Viz Media made us wait eight months for this latest installment of Yukito Kishiro’s Gunnm series — a decade after its publication in Japan, according to the copyright page — the main character appears in only a handful of panels. And then only to be seen munching on a fish. (Yes, yes, the title of this edition is “Sans Angel,” so that’s a large clue she’s not going to be making much of an appearance. But still.)

But even without her, there’s still Kishiro’s skill as a storyteller (and of course as an artist). He’s told of other star-crossed lovers — notably Gally, as the series’ protagonist is known in the rest of the world, and Hugo (Yugo). But he pulls it off again, with a fatal, too-passionate-for-life twist. It’s giving little away to mention “Sans Angel’s” key actor, Homme du Feu, a genetically engineered warrior-werewolf monster directed by the military industrial complex of Kishiro’s dense worlds, is unsure if he wants to eat his Farrah Fawcett-like combat instructor or make love to her.

As with so many of the great Battle Angel Alita love stories, this one is heart-breakingly sad, absurdly funny, repulsive, tragic and ultimately noble.

More on this book. See my earlier posts on this series here (the story of volume 12), here (the art of volume 12) and here (on Viz’s agonizing release schedule).
My first post on the Battle Angel Alita: Last Order/Gunnm books can be seen here: Reading this will help explain a lot in Kirshiro’s superb, dense, unparalleled series.

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