Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Mysterians, vol. 1

Created by Chuck Russel and Michael Uslan, Script by Jay Antani with Art by Matt Hentschel
Published in the US by TokyoPop

Slugline: Not related at all with the cult classic Japanese giant critter movie

Imagine a Earth where Dick Cheney and George Bush were considered environmental wussies. Yes, hard to imagine, but that is the near future of the Mysterians, where the environment is going to hell in a hand-basket, except that there are not enough reeds left growing to weave a hand-basket. But five teenagers whose parents died arguing that the environment and the political situation was deteriorating learn that they have been changed, partly through their own abilities and some of them by genetic/organic engineering derived from alien technology. Wait, alien technology, did I forgot to mention the aliens? Yep, you see the aliens are behind all of the trouble on Earth because they need to reduce the Earth to a polluted wasteland so they can get a decent breath of air. But not to worry, five teenagers who have never meet before will gain strange powers to save the Earth! The only thing that is missing is a few color pages so that we can tell which color each teen's organic bio-armor is, since biologically similar creatures still would never be as tacky to be all in the same color!

Heh, sorry. The environmental message here is a combination of Captain Planet and X-Files, and even some of the classic cult movie THEM. It is so blatant and over the top that it is hard to take seriously. At least from a storytelling perspective, truth always seems so much more illogical since it does not have make sense as a plot. Obviously there is also the sentai/Power Ranger influences on the story are just a little bit obvious. Still, the whole story seems very simplistic, but the creators seem to have decided to compensate for that by having just as much over the top goriness. The disguised aliens are unstoppable unless you pull out their power source, which gives one a lot of reason to rip their corpse apart looking for the important bit. So lots of exposed spines and intestines. Nothing too stomach turning, but it was actually surprising to see it shown. Not sure if the shock value is worth it though.

The Mysterians, vol. 1 is also available from Right Stuf, Intl., an online retailer specializing in anime and manga.

- Ferdinand

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