Friday, January 25, 2013

Mardock Scramble, vol. 4

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

This is the last of the volumes I picked up from Book Off, 4 of a total of 7 in the series.
Mardock Scramble, vol. 4. By Tow Ubukata and drawn by Katsuya Terada. Grade: B-. The majority of the story now takes place on a secret space base, where the government experiments with psychic powers and cyborg technology. This is where Boiled had been created and lived before turning rogue. Rune recovers from her injuries at the hands of Boiled, but she's told that Oefcoque refuses to see her anymore. The mouse survived the mistreatment it had received, but needs a long recuperation period. She makes friends with a boy that can't feel emotions and learns her way around the facilities. Meanwhile, Boiled discovers that Fingers is still alive, and has him reoutfitted and delivered to the space base for revenge. The base's security consists of flying sharks and killer whales that only activate when they scent blood, so the boy allows himself to be dismembered in order to sound the alarm.

The sharks easily kill Fingers, but are defeated by Boiled. The base puts up a token fight to slow Boiled down, allowing Rune and Oefcoque to escape back to Earth. At the last moment, Rune gets access to the base's main servers and learns that Shell's weakness is that he's stored his extracted memories within 4 gambling chips at his casino. The volume ends with Dr. Easter, Oefcoque and Rune vowing to break the casino and get their hands on those four chips.

(Gag inside front cover.)

Unfortunately, the story is kind of veering off track. It had started out promisingly as an action combat series, then it devolves into a series of mindgames between the good guys and bad guys, literally with "high stakes". There's still a fair amount of gore this time, but it is offset with various jokes and funny setups. Not recommended for those underaged or easily offended.

(Sample artwork. The security sharks are sent after Boiled.)

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