Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mardock Scramble, vol. 2

(All rights belong to their owners. Images used here for review purposes only.)

I return you now to Mardock Scramble, a "hard-boiled" SF thriller featuring cyborg Rune Ballot, and her universal tool, Oefcoque. In volume 2, villain mastermind Shell Septinous sends out assassin Boiled to eliminate Rune, using Oefcoque against her. This fails, but just barely, resulting in a flashback demonstrating just how lousy her life has been so far (abused by her father; her brother exacts revenge for her by killing the old man, causing the family to break up with the brother in jail, her mother in an asylum and Rune on the streets; Rune being recruited into a prostitution ring; her eventual escape from the ring and hiding out as one of the homeless in a park; and finally being "rescued" by Shell and almost murdered. She steals Oefcoque back, escapes Boiled, and returned to Dr. Easter's lab.

Shell, meanwhile, is having his memories surgically removed and stored to disk, and he announces to his gang that he's happy to be starting an all new life. Which the gang suddenly learns means that he's removing it all - them included. A new gang of 5 cyborgs comes in and kills everyone, including the doctor, his nurse, and the nurse's young son. However, because Rune has managed to stay alive this long, Shell chose to have her memories reinstalled, and instructs Boiled to have the gang of 5 finish the job. Turns out that these 5 new killers like taking specific body parts from their victims and having them attached to their own bodies (eyes, fingers, skin, etc.) The first of the group, Fingers, enters Easter's lab, and is easily defeated by Rune and Oefcoque.

(Gag inside front cover. "Seijin" is "sage", and "tako" is "octopus". So, "octopus sage mask".)

(Sequence in which Boiled steals his former partner, Oefcoque, and forces it to turn into a gun to use against Rune.)

Volumes 2 and 3 are the darkest, most violent and graphic of the 4 I've seen so far. Not recommended to those underaged or easily offended.  Available in the U.S. from Kodansha Press. Grade B-.

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