15 May / Pluto: Urasawa x Tezuka 002 and 003 by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka, co-authored by Takashi Nagasaki, supervised by Macoto Tezka
HOLY MOLY! And I was worried that things couldn’t get better after Volume 001. Can we say WOW together? Even if you’re not a manga fan, go get this series. I grabbed the original Tezuka Astro Boy series to read again, too, while I’m waiting for the next installments. Talk about addictive!
So Volume 002 starts with Atom’s growing relationship with superrobot Gesicht – both are becoming more human than not, in spite of their artificial make-up. Atom also turns to the kindly Professor Ochanomizu (whose name literally means ‘tea-water,’ who in the original Tezuka series saved Atom from the circus, and for whom he created a nuclear family of mother, father, sister, brother), hoping for some answers. We find out more about the 39th Central Asian war (with unmissable eerie similarities to our own ongoing “War on Terror”) and the unfinished business that threatens world peace, especially the ever-more precarious balance between humans and robots. Another superrobot perishes trying to fight the unseen evil and Gesicht thinks he might be missing some of his memory.
Volume 003 introduces us to Atom’s little sister, Uran, who has the special ability to actually sense fear, even from far away. More murdered bodies are inexplicably adorned with horns. The mysterious Professor Abullah, who is supposedly human but had to have much of his body rebuilt after the Central Asian War, makes his debut. Adolf (talk about a loaded name!), who seems like such a regular family guy, turns out to be a member of a highly anti-robot underground organization that is not unlike the KKK (yes, creepy hooded robes and all!). The eponymous Pluto sort of appears – in shadow. And cockroaches take on a whole new power – ee-yew to that!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 2009 (United States)
PLUTO © Naoki Urasawa/Studio Nuts, Takashi Nagasaki, and Tezuka Productions
Original Japanese edition published by Shogakukan Inc.
Based on Astro Boy by Osamu Tezuka