I was a child of the ’80s and certain things stick with you at a young impressionable age. One such property was Guyver, a trippy superhero movie that was more horror than glossy heroes fighting villains. The main character wore a living suit that gave him powers and it was an impressive sight. It’s probably one reason why I liked Aposimz, a new manga series from Vertical Comics. Set in an apocalyptic world where most are helpless, there are a chosen few who have superpowers. This manga is about a common person gaining that power, a power mainly used by the elite, and using it against them.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
This story takes place on the frigid, massive artificial planet known as Aposimz. Eo, Biko and Etherow, residents of the White Diamond Beam, are in the middle of combat training when suddenly a girl appears, Rebedoan Empire soldiers in hot pursuit. The girl asks for their help in keeping safe a “code” and seven mysterious “bullets.” This chance encounter marks a major shift in the fate of the entire planet…
Why does this matter?
Tsutomu Nihei has created an intense sci-fi world with rare superheroes. It reminds me of Fire Punch, but much more accessible and disturbing. There’s gore to be sure, but it’s done in a weird trippy sort of way that enhances the strangeness of the world.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The art is something that immediately stands out once you crack this book open. Nihei’s pencils are so light and sketchy it’s as if the ink is only slightly pressed into the paper. This gives the world a frail look as if it could crumble at any moment. Truth be told, much of the world is crumbling and it isn’t looking so good for the characters. This frailty extends to the characters, especially the ones with powers. The power seems to rip their flesh right off and the visage is quite disturbing. That’s thanks to the art style, but also the detailed gory nature of the flayed characters.
The story is quite cool too. It sets up a battle between a solo ex-sniper who has lost his tribe and seeks vengeance. He’s a hero, solitary and quiet but deadly with a weapon. This character gain powers and become a Frame, utilize Haighs Particles to power up, and can transfer placenta to boost. It sounds crazy, but the rules are laid out well enough so it makes sense. There’s also a fun dynamic between the lead and a robotic stick-like figure that can transform into a woman with the last bit of powers she has.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
The plot is a touch convenient with most of its surprises building off the powers and new information about the world. The main character, for instance, just so happens to gain the Frame that has a big gun on its arm and also happens to be a sniper. The villains are the customary lot who underestimate the main character and die for it. The hero also saves those who are helpless but also fear him. There’s a lot of tropes at work in this manga and many are immediately obvious.
Is it good?
I highly enjoyed this sci-fi superhero story. Its mix of a dystopian world with Guyver-like powers works well. I’m highly interested to see how this story unfolds from here.