Phantom Volume 4

By Ki-Hoon Lee/Seung-Yup Cho
Publisher: Tokyopop
Rating: 13+
Genre: Sci-Fi
RRP: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★☆

Eric, Athena’s sniper, rescues the beautiful female cyborg from extermination, he holes up until he can get the evidence of Iron Corporation’s dirtiest secret, the genetically-engineered cyborgs, back to Athena’s base.  Unbeknownst to him, however, the worst is yet to come as Iron unleashes their human-reptilian attack beasts to take back their lost cyborg or kill her.  Unfortunately for them, Eric has rigged the whole place with traps and even though he’s badly injured in the process, manages to kill the two alpha beasts.

That’s great until Iron sends in everything they have.  It will take the combined strength and skill of Eric, his rescued cyborg companion, K and the amazing abilities of Eaimi and Dison to prevail.

Volume 4 takes a hard turn that I’m not sure if I like or not.  On the one hand, the idea of evil mega-corporations ruling the world through the might of their armies is interesting and I want to see a lot more of it, but all of a sudden, we’ve got a story on a smaller scale.  Humans are being turned into cyborgs or combined with other animals to create mindless killing machines.  It gives another dimension to the story and makes it more human than just machines beating the crap out of each other.

On the other hand, I’m very much opposed to magic and psychic abilities in my science fiction and now that Eaimi and Dison are displaying largely supernatural powers, I’m a bit skeptical.  Certainly this isn’t the first time we’ve seen it in mecha shows and books, we can go back to the beginning of the Gundam saga and find the Newtypes using psychic abilities to control their mecha.  A little bit of that goes a long way, what K goes through as he “lets himself go” in a TC and is able to perform amazing feats is one thing.  Having Dison walk down the alley and blow monsters up semi-Scanners-style is another.  Perhaps later volumes will explain how all of this happens, but for the moment, it really takes me out of the science-fiction mindset and wonder “what the heck is going on here?”

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