Wednesday, May 30, 2007

King of Thorn, v. 1

Created by Yuji Iwahara
Published in the U.S. by TokyoPop

Slugline: A good zombie movie, probably because it has no zombies.

The Medusa virus is sweeping the world, painfully turning its victims into chalky statues after a incubation period of weeks. Without a cure, one sibling of a twin sister set, Kasumi, wins a lottery to be put into suspended animation until a cure is found. After an unknown amount of time, she along with a number of the other lottery winners awaken to discover that their animation center is now overgrown with vines, and there are unknown creatures right outside the chamber waiting to eat them. Kasumi, the shyer of the twins, is left wondering why she was spared, what happened to the world, and how long she has left until the Medusa virus claims her and the rest of the survivors. Tensions among the small group that manages to escape, for the time being, only rise.

This is a horror title that feels very reminiscent, but still different from, of the isolation and paranoia of the best zombie movies. But instead of the infected losing their identity to become just another zombie, here, the Medusa virus strips everything but their identity away, leaving a statue. The shy Kasumi has to find meaning in herself, no longer relying directly on her sister, to make her way in a strange world that is familiar like a badly remembered echo.

Not sure if the later volumes will keep up with this book's quality, but for setting up a situation and immediately placing characters into jeopardy, this book is very good. In addition, this is second book we have reviewed here on Prospero's Manga from Yuji Iwahara, the first being Chikyu Misaki released by CMX, but now I am going to look forward and for any other works by this creator.

King of Thorn, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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