Digital Review: The Mysterians Volume 1

The Mysterians Volume 1
Story by Jay Antani, Art by Matt Hentshel
Publisher: Tokyopop
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genre: Sci-Fi
Price: $9.99

Rating: ★★★★☆

My name is Vox. I am the last surviving member of an underground resistance. Our mission: Expose and destroy a vast and sinister plot to take over planet Earth. Aliens have infiltrated the Earth’s entire political, industrial, military and socio-industrial complex. They are determined to extinguish life on our planet. Since birth, the five of you were fated to receive this message. You are possessed of extraordinary abilities… Logan, you have superior strength and superhuman intuition. Leelee, no Olympian has ever had your level of agility. Jenna and Jamie, your parents knew of your telekinesis and ESP when you were still children. Tony, your intellect is off the charts. The entire world needs you. You must use your talents to join together and stop this invasion…And in doing so, the five of you will become…The Mysterians!

Science Fiction doesn’t get nearly as much love in manga as it should, but this title seems to be trying to make up for lost time, and does a pretty good job of it!  Even with the fairly generic plot of “5 strangers from all walks of life coming together to save the world”, rich character development makes the difference.

This first volume is all about introducing our main characters, Logan, Leelee, Jenna, Jamie and Tony.  All of them lost one or both parents when they were very young, and all have exhibited extra-ordinary powers.  The first two of the three chapters are dedicated to letting us get to know these characters.  We see their present life, and how the loss of their parent(s) has affected them.   In this way, we get to know the characters fairly well, and none of them seem to fall into the usual stereotypes.  The smart kid doesn’t look like a geek.  The rich kid isn’t haughty or spoiled.  They are all very down to earth and realistic.

In contrast, we know next to nothing about the enemy, and the little that we do tells us next to nothing about their motives.  We know they are aliens, with some peculiar powers.  They appear human, and have been around for at least 10 years.  There are hints of a relation between these aliens and the climate change that is mentioned throughout the volume.  This lack of development doesn’t hurt the story though.  If anything, it makes it more interesting as you want to know more.

I did have some problems with reading this title on the manga viewer, though it had nothing to do with techinal issues.  There is a lot of text in this title, and because the pages are reduced to fit most size montiors, it made reading some of the text difficult.  If you strain your eyes enough, you can figure it out.  I just chalk this up to the price of reading the book for free online.

The art is fairly decent.  The characters are well drawn for the most part.  The effects for the aliens are rendered well though.  Be warned, there is a bit of gore in here, as aliens get their heads crushed and eye balls popping out.  But it’s not gratuitous or gut-renching.

Overall, The Mysterians is a good alien-invasion story so far.  The story and characters are different and intriguing enough that I might be will to buy it, and will definitely be watching for the next volume.  It ends on a bit of a cliff hanger, hooking me in more.

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