Zombie Powder Volume 2
By Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media; Shonen Jump Advanced
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Genre: Action
Price: $7.99
Rating: ★★★★☆

We meet Wolfina Lalla Getto, a self-described “journalist of justice” who has been responsible for toppling various criminal organizations in her illustrious career.  She’s got a peculiar choice of weapons, a camera tripod, with which she is very effective.  However, when Gamma Akutabi rescues her from a camera-shoot gone wrong, he gets the idea that she might know where one of the Rings of the Dead might be, especially when he finds out that her younger brother Emilio lies in a coma, the sure sign, he thinks, of their knowlege of the rings.  Supposedly, the Rings of the Dead can turn innocent victims into mindless vegetables by feeding off their life force.

However, our newest villain, Balmunk, wants to get his hands on Emilio’s head.  That’s all, just the head.  He has mysterious magical powers that are both a bit creepy and silly at the same time.  Keeping tigers in your hat seems a mite uncomfortable, doesn’t it?  Will Balmunk succeed?  Will Gamma find more of the Rings of the Dead?  What are those guns doing in Balmunk’s ears anyhow?

This volume is a mixed bag.  On the one hand, we get Wolfina introduced and she’s an interesting, although severely fan-serviced character that frankly, I’m not sure how she can stand up.  The story is a bit creepy, especially as we find out more about how the Rings work and the price that must be paid for the mysterious zombie powder.

On the other hand, each volume, except the first, contains a backup story and this one has Ultra Unholy Hearted Machine, the first story Tite Kubo ever did when he was 18.  Unfortunately, it shows that it’s his first story, the plot is a mess, the art isn’t great, I suppose the best thing we can say for it is that it’s a good thing Kubo-sensei improved a great deal after this.  The story follows Baio, a “deleter” who has been hired to wipe out the criminal organization responsible for creating the super-drug “Divine Breath” that turns people into virtual zombie soldiers.  It’s a whole lot of mindless death and destruction and not much else, I suppose if you’re into that kind of thing, it’s fine, but I’ve yet to find anyone who said they really enjoyed it.  It’s 40 pages of story that’s really wasted in this volume and is probably worth skipping over.

The Zombie Powder parts are still good, hopefully in future volumes we’ll get to see more of Elwood, who barely makes an appearance this time around, and I want to keep Wolfina, although she could stand to be… deflated a bit.

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