{comics} pluto 008

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pluto 008 coverPluto 008 by Naoki Urasawa and Osamu Tezuka

viz signature edition, 2009.

see my review of Pluto volumes 1-7.

Finally! the dramatic conclusion to Urasawa x Tezuka’s Pluto.

By the seventh volume of Pluto, it looks like the bad guys have won and the Reader is left reeling from one incredible loss after another. There are also some unanswered questions, like: What is up with that cuddly-looking yet creepy teddy bear?

What that United States of Thracia related teddy bear is is confirmed in volume 8, and the “weapons of mass destruction” investigation/fall-out is completely revealed. Yes, the political maneuvering had consequences no one could anticipate—or maybe they could. And for what? Fear and hatred are not best responded to with a flexing of power and more hatred. “Nothing comes of hatred” is a message Pluto will drive home in the final book, and not in a childish way, but with nail-biting and tears and complex illustrations of empathic response. The exploration of robotics having feelings continues to indict the human characters’ abilities or inabilities to possess let alone express empathy. Similarly is the idea of not only having an affection for the future and future generations, but being invested in the future, in not only creating but parenting, i.e. caring and protecting.

pluto 008 urasawa-07

Atom appears to be the only one left who could prevent the destruction of the earth, and he is armed with another’s memory and an unhealthy dose of rage. But he reveals himself to be more than most would expect, redefining power and suggesting a new and better response to threat (on any scale). Not that Atom really is alone, there are others who play a part along the way, both on the good side and the bad.

Pluto is a must series for sci-fi fans, manga readers or no. The artwork and story-structure are a pleasure. It is violent, so I wouldn’t recommend this to the too young a reader set, even if they do excel on the levels of comprehension the series requires. Urasawa has given us an intelligent and beautiful addition to Tezuka’s Astro Boy universe.

{images belong to Naoki Urasawa}

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