It’s time to learn something once again with the latest volume of Cells at Work! available now! Is it good?
Writer/Artist: Akane Shimizu
Translator: Yamato Tanaka
Lettering: Abigail Blackman
Since this is an anthology, let’s break down each story one by one and see how they all stack up.
A dangerous type of bacteria has entered the bloodstream, Staphylococcus Aureus! This bacteria and her posse have a bone to pick after their fellow sisters were killed by White Blood Cells and now want to take over and wipe everyone out. Who could save the day?!
This is a fun chapter, putting a lot more focus on the action and two cell types that we haven’t really explored yet: Macrophages and Monocytes. The two ultimately don’t get a lot of panel time outside of their introductions and how they resolve the plot, but the focus on them was great. They’ve mostly been background characters that haven’t really interacted much with the plot outside of being extra fighters. Learning more about them and how cleverly Shimizu visualizes what they do is both amusing and rather educational.
It’s a great story all around and as an extra bonus, we got some female villains for once with a neat design.
Another day, another buttload of histamine being dumped down on the small world by Mast Cell. Everyone complains, saying it ruins their days, but as Mast Cell puts it, it is her job even if it inconveniences people. However, now’s not the time for that. Big problems arise as a mosquito pokes through the skin and causes trouble.
This is another solid, rather enjoyable chapter that’s able to do quite a lot. We check in with Mast Cell (who we haven’t seen since the second chapter) and we get a follow up on her job and her character. There’s some good character development that builds off of her appearance here and last time, resulting in a resolution that feels appropriate but also rather funny considering she was always in the right. The story’s pacing is quite tight with high stakes and an interesting, but very horrifying, interpretation of what it looks like when a mosquito attacks. The only weird thing I found off about the chapter was the artwork, which seemed different than usual. It shifted between a lot of different styles it felt like, making it tonally & visually different from previous chapters. The art isn’t necessarily bad by any means, but it did make the experience off at times.
Radiation Suit PUNCH!!
It’s another beautiful day in the body and our lead Red Blood Cell has been given a new task among her usual oxygen deliveries: training another Red Blood Cell (her Kohai as the series puts it). While our lead girl isn’t the best at her job, she’s determined to teach the newbie the ropes and introduce her around. However, tragedy is on the horizon as a horrifying, nightmarish thing is about to strike.
Without a doubt, this is easily one of the finest stories this series has had to offer. A two parter on the level with “Cancer Cells”, “Hypovolemic Shock” tells an incredibly tense and terrifying tale that starts off innocent and sweet, before showing the horrors that come when a body loses nearly a third of its blood. Shimizu crafts a compelling story with how the body reacts to this incident and how the characters all try to deal with the issue, really taking the time to grow Red Blood Cell more than we’ve ever seen before. “Shock” shows her dedication, focus, and even says that despite her own issues, she’ll keep going no matter what the cost. It’s a great tale full of suspense, amazing creativity on the part of the creator, wonderful characterization, and at times, haunting artwork and imagery.
As our White Blood Cell shows Red Blood Cell and one of the new RBCs around the Intestines, he gets pulled into a situation involving bacteria known as Campylobacter. A group of them has taken a hostage and the White Blood Cell needs to find a way to deal with this problem quickly before it’s too late. “Peyer’s Patch” is a nice closing chapter to end the volume out on. The story is a more traditional tale for the series with the heroes trying to figure out how to stop some bacteria, and the result is both clever and very amusing. There continues to be character growth with our main WBC buddy as he becomes more and more attach & friendly with RBC (something that Killer T can’t help but comment on a lot), while continuing to show his viciousness and clever nature. It’s not a story that’s not as big as the previous chapters in the book, but it’s a great time and introduces the concept of Peyer’s Patch in a very clever way.
Damn you steam showers! My one weakness!
Is It Good?
Cells at Work Vol. 4 is an excellent edition for the series, providing some of the best stories seen to date. The characters are delightful, the narrative’s educational and clever in its depiction of familiar ideas we’ve seen, and the artwork, while different at times, is still quite beautiful-looking. Fans of the series are going to want to check this one out.
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