What makes the Red Man red?
Jinsei Kataoka and Kazuma Kondou apparently decided to follow-up on their excellent debut volume Deadman Wonderland Volume 1 with a balls-to-the-wall action fest that never lets the reader breathe for even a second until the final page is turned. And that is awesome.
In volume two Ganta wakes up in a hospital, enjoying the only rest he is going to get for the rest of the comic, under the tender care of Shiro who is busy eating all of Ganta’s snacks. The peace lasts only a few pages however, as Officer Makina initiates the robot Necro Macro to bring Ganta down. Makina has had experience with others wielding Ganta’s blood-power before, and wants to eliminate him before he learns to control it.
After the battle with Necro Macro, Ganta hears rumors of an Area G, supposedly where the Red Man himself is housed. Determined to take his revenge, Ganta enlists Shiro to lead him to Area G, where he finds himself in a topsy-turvy secret area of Deadman Wonderland. Ganta, it appears, is far from the only person able to wield the blood power. There are a gang of special fighters who can manipulate the power, called Deadmen, and they welcome Ganta into their group. Although the Deadmen live in relative luxury to the rest of the prison, they are all slightly insane and spend their days battling each other for the amusement of the crowds. Ganta is given the code-name “Woodpecker” and is sent into immediate battle against “Crow,” a more experienced fighter. The price for losing the fight is very high.
“Deadman Wonderland” is turning out to be a very cool manga, and one that I am looking forward to seeing how the series plays out. Having a writer/artist team work together the same as with American comics seems to be working out great, as author Jinsei Kataoka and artist Kazuma Kondou are allowed to play to their strengths.
Although I thought it sounded goofy at first, the Deadman’s powers of using their own blood as weapons turns out to be really interesting, especially when Ganta finds out he can drain himself dry if he isn’t careful. They act as reverse-vampires, attacking with their own blood rather than drawing it from others. The twist of the new Deadmen was a nice addition, and I look forward to learning more about these strange characters.
On top of that, Kondou’s art is some of the best I have seen, with great line work and a nice balance between cartoony/serious that can really through you for a loop. The final scene of the book, with Shiro unleashed, was so stunning I had to turn the page and then turn it back again just to check that I was really seeing what I was seeing