Dec 9, 2018
Partial review of first two volumes;
Is the final chapter of this epic Sci-Fi adventure good as what came before? Qualified answer: yes, though perhaps not so good as Alita's very best. Although Last Order wrapped up most of its plot threads rather well, allowing the new series to make a fresh start, there's still such a weight of backstory to Alita that I would recommend reading previous series before this one. Moreover, the assumption is that veteran readers will be so used to elements like limb loss, body regeneration and brain chips/necro soldiers, that Mars Chronicles might as well telegraph that they'll be coming round
again. It's basically the formula we know and love; tragic war drama, cyborg battles, body horror and cyborg identity crises. The art is as detailed and the story as harrowing as we might expect from Kishiro. Although a few of Alita's escapes from death so far have been a little contrived, the first volume's war story is true grit, and we have bundles of political intrigue (also, fan favourite characters), right from the get go.
One unwelcome change is that the sense of Alita's character and POV are much weaker. With a timeskip disconnecting her from her history, and sharing focus with several characters, the monument of strength and self-awareness that is Alita has yet to really appear. The first major fight with Erika sets up a worthy adversary, but not yet a world-class heroine. Also, we won't get a sense of place for Mars comparable to the Scrapyard or Salem, until we get to know a working community of reasonably ordinary Martians. But hopefully these elements will soon fall into place.
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