The classic Shotaro Ishinomori manga returns revamped for a fast-paced Western audience.
A young boy awakens after a hazy dream and finds he’s cuffed to a table with maniacal robots surrounding him. Shortly after freeing himself, he pits his newfound super strength against the robots and escapes into the outside world. He has no memory of who he is or of what he has been turned into until a doctor unveils to him that he’s been turned into a cyborg, and now he must destroy the eight models that preceded him, as he is now only referred to as 009. But Cyborgs 001 – 008 have plans of their own –– to flee the island they’re on and chase after the man who did this to them; a man who goes by the name of Sekur and heads a mysterious organization known as The Black Ghost.
Cyborg 009, Chapter 000 is a 24-page sampling of what’s to come in the full-length hardcover edition of Archaia Entertainment and Ishinomori Productions’ joint revival of this classic manga of the 1960s, due out in July of this year. There’s no doubt that this take on Cyborg 009 by the creative team of F.J. DeSantis, Bradley Cramp, and Marcus To will sound yet another triumphant fanfare for Archaia, a publisher renowned for the high production value of its books. But in the end, this book may be most memorable primarily due to To’s artwork, which is nothing shy of superb.
The writing, at least in this initial chapter, is too minimal to delve into any kind of real story. The opening pages certainly draw the reader into the world of Cyborg 009, but the pacing of each panel moves at hyperspeed, confusing readers in much the same way as the protagonist, which I sincerely hope was part of the plan. One doesn’t get a proper opportunity to fully immerse him- or herself in the beauty of the action or the story.
This may simply be how most manga works, which admittedly is a medium I’ve never allowed myself to be engrossed by. But for the modern-day Western audience, it’s safe to say we want both action and story to co-exist in equal parts –– high octane fight scenes intermingled with dialogue and story with substance; here, I’m afraid, we’ll be sticking around only for the cybernetic fisticuffs, but that just might be enough.
F.J. DeSanto and Bradley Cramp (W), Marcus To (A), Ian Herring (C) • Archaia Entertainment, $1.00 May 1, 2013.