Zombie Powder Volume 3
By: Tite Kubo
Publisher: Viz Media/Shonen Jump Manga
Genre: Action
Rating: T+ (Older Teen)
Price: $7.99
ISBN: 1-4215-1121-5
Rating: ★★★½☆

We open with Gamma Akutabi, Elwood, C.T. Smith and Wolfina Lalla Getto hot on the heels of circus-master Balmunk who has kidnapped Wolfina’s comatose brother Emilio, hoping to recover the mysterious Ring of the Dead which has been fused inside of his body.

As they face off against Balmunk, he calls upon his minions to fight against them, aiming to fight a personal battle against Gamma, with whom he apparently has a mysterious past.  Who was Gamma and what link does he have with Balmunk?  Can they overcome the deadliest circus performers of them all?  And how can Gamma save Emilio and recover the Ring of the Dead at the same time?

This time around, we get an action-packed volume that feels a lot like an episode of Bleach in some ways.  You have our heroes fighting to the death with a bunch of psychotic circus-themed killers whose special abilities, like the killers themselves, are pretty silly.  What can you say about “Pyromaniac Power” whose weapons of choice are two giant matches?  Through the battles, we learn things about our heroes, which is a very common device used in both manga and American comics alike.  How many times does Peter Parker learn things about himself when faced with a tremendous battle, or does the audience learn about his background and character through his interaction with the villain?  It is for these introspections that this volume really works, especially since there hasn’t been much depth to the characterization thus far.  Unfortunately, since this series ends at volume 4 and we haven’t really followed the story of the 12 Rings all that much, it doesn’t feel like we’re building up to a tremendous ending.  Yes, Emilio has a ring inside of him but there’s a lot of time spent on that one ring and not much on the other 11.

Our back up story this time is called Rune Master Urara about a girl named Urara who uses tattoos to bind demons to her body, which she can then use to fight evil.  It’s certainly better than the back up in the last volume, but it still isn’t that memorable, it seems to be just filling space and that’s never a good thing to say about a story.

I hope for something special to happen in the last volume, it would be nice to see a spectacular story where they actually find all of the rings or Gamma decides not to pursue them after all, I just want something to happen so I don’t feel I’ve wasted my time reading these manga.

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