It’s the year 3005 and the N5S Virus—-a horrible disease that transforms people into walking zombies—–pushes humanity towards the brink of extinction. A synthetic human named Zoichi Kanoe searches the sprawling cityscapes for Eon Green, a teen girl who is one of the last of the Accomodators, the only humans able to resist the disease. Unfortunately she’s also the target of the Data Recovery Foundation (DRF), a clandestine group with broad military powers that have their own dark agenda for both Eon and the Earth. Making full use of his enhanced physical abilities and the intelligent AI built into his super-charged motorcycle Zoichi speeds through the city taking on DRF troops and hordes of drooling zombies in this last-ditch effort to save mankind.
Fortunately, this series is part of the Viz Signature line; the slightly taller and wider pages allows Nihei’s work to really breathe and show off the full visual experience. Characters and backgrounds are both hyper-detailed with layers of tiny linework and fine shading. Background elements like the gothic-inspired skyscrapers, stretching cables on tension bridges and eerie, almost dirty moonlight go a long way to enhance the overall sense of dread. Nihei also makes some interesting uses of time to pump up the action; caught in one of his many gun battles we see Zoichi take out multiple enemies before they even get their guns fully out of their holsters. And just like Zoichi, the art unflinchingly charges into the grotesque. Blood splatters, bones protrude, zombies drip blood and puss. All this means that this is definitely not a title for the squeamish.
As the story moves on Nihei introduces more characters and slowly hands out background details to this terrifying future. The DRF believes that Accomodators are the next evolutionary step for mankind and they’ve been spreading the N5S Virus to achieve their ultimate goal of immortality. Their only remaining obstacle is TOA Heavy Industries, the company that made Zoichi and hopes to collect the few remaining Accomodators before the DRF does.There’s definitely something cold and unfeeling about both sides of this conflict. The few remaining humans either fit within the plans of the DRF or are brutally slaughtered. Even the heroes like Zoichi and other synthetic humans like him seem devoid of all emotion save for their drive to save Eon and destroy anything that gets in their way.
The antidote to all this, though, is Kozlov. A scientist who had his brain transplanted into the body of a bear he aids Zoichi with his own high-powered machine gun. But he’s not the same kind of unfaltering hero as Zoichi. Nihei manages to get a lot of emotion into those bear eyes of Kozlov; his hesitations in battle and general disgust for the events make him a much needed dose of humanity in what otherwise might be a crushingly unfeeling book.
Half-way through the series — Biomega is set to run six volumes in total — it’s hard to know at this point where this title will go. Whether this future means the end of humanity, the birth of a new race or something in-between, this series is sure to appeal to fans of grisly horror and dark, gritty science fiction looking for a high-stakes thrill ride.
Biomega, vol. 1-3
by Tsutomu Nihei
Vol. 1 ISBN: 9781421531847
Vol. 2 ISBN: 9781421531854
Vol. 3 ISBN: 9781421531861
VIz Media LLC, 2010
Publisher Age Rating: Mature