Search and Destroy, Vol. 1

Fantagraphics. Jun. 2024. 224p. ISBN 9781683969327. pap. $14.99. SF
Kaneko (Bambi and Her Pink Gun) reimagines Tezuka’s 1960s epic fantasy saga Dororo, which followed the exploits of a warrior quest to rid feudal Japan of supernatural demons, as a gritty, fast-paced cyberpunk thriller set in a dystopian city held in the grip of vile mechanical crime lords. Years ago, a brilliant inventor saved a grievously injured young girl from certain death by replacing her damaged or missing flesh with cybernetic enhancements. Now the girl is on a hyperviolent quest for revenge against the monsters who deprived her of her humanity, starting with a corpulent thug in possession of her tongue and a sadistic art collector who counts her preserved eyeballs among his prized possessions. But is it really possible to regain one’s humanity through violence and vengeance, or will the hero end up even worse off than if she’d never been kept alive years earlier?
VERDICT Kaneko retains Tezuka’s relentless pacing, flair for melodrama, and thematic focus on justice, corruption, and individuality within an oppressive society, while integrating elements of body horror and an increased focus on the unsustainability of societies where vital resources are controlled by a thriving minority, to the detriment of the masses.
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