Thursday Book

Biomega, vols 2-5 - Tsutomu Nihei

The first two volumes of Biomega seem to set the pace for the rest of the series: synthetic human heroes ride around on supersonic motorcycles, blowing the shit out of biomechanical zombies and the masked transhumans responsible for them. At one point in volume two, the series' iconic talking grizzly bear, Kozlov, remarks that there now seem to be no normal human beings left. You might take this for a throwaway acknowledgement of a genre-typical setting, but Nihei has actually shown some measure of development in his world up to this point, and its an omen of things to come.

The third volume sees both hidden fracture lines and unexpected alliances become apparent in the frantic build-up to a massive conflict of post-human ideals. It's clear early on in the story that Nihei isn't afraid to follow strange speculations through to their extreme logical conclusion, and the culmination of this conflict in volume four results in such a stonking great development in the story that I don't want to spoil it, save to say that at one point a hole is blasted right through planet Earth.

But the thing that impresses me so much about this series is that for all its epic scale and unswerving commitment to massive ideas, this is always first and foremost a laconic action comic. Far from being laden with exposition, Nihei often has his characters barrel headlong into the surreal aftermath of a new plot point, only explaining it after the fact. Things which have a visual consistency with the otherworldly logic of the settings are frequently left satisfyingly unmentioned in the dialogue. In this way Biomega manages to be both fast-paced and also surprisingly thoughtful speculative fiction. I'm eagerly anticipating the final volume.

1 comment:

gnome said...

Guess Biomega is something I'd pretty much love...