Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 13, Part 2

I noted in part 1 of my posts on Battle Angel Alita: Last Order Vol. 13 that the main character, Alita, doesn’t turn up until near the end of this book, and then merely for a few panels. She’s only an observer here.

But Yukito Kishiro’s years-long series often takes side trips, exploring some incidental character’s at first seemingly minor backstory. As we follow these offshoots, we see how they affect the main plot, or enrich our understanding of why the people in Kishiro’s morality tales act as they do. In all cases, they enhance our appreciation for the cartoonist’s skills as storyteller and artist … and of humanity itself.

In the “Last Order” series, he’s told of an angry teen who became a killer; of a one-time space hero, worshipped by many, who becomes a dictator; of a nursery school and its sponsorship of a team of karate warriors; of a vampire who fought to save the human race and support King Arthur … and later do battle with Alita.

Indeed, the whole “Last Order” storyline is a branch from Kishiro’s original Battle Angel Alita series. He completed that series, moved on to another, light-hearted title, Aqua Knight. But then he returned to Battle Angel Angel. Starting from approximately four-fifths of the way along in that original story, he began a whole new track. (Which means, yes, he’s changed the happy, hopeful ending in the initial Battle Angel Alita storyline. Things have turned darker, for now. I imagine, though, James Cameron will come up with his own Alita story.)

My next post will rave once again about Kishiro’s art. See my earlier post here, which has links to previous columns about these books.

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