20th Century Boys: 13

It’s interesting, especially after last issue’s reveal, that nobody can remember Fukube as a kid, yet he was at the reunion and somehow a member of the group? After the death of Friend/Fukube, there seems to be instant panic and chaos. If that little moment of triumph, I’m referring to the silent handshake between Otcho and Maruo, doesn’t bring down the house emotionally, well shoot, then I don’t know what does. It’s so disturbing to see the global group-think behind Friend’s death that seems to be occurring en masse. “Our savior is dead,” psh, he’s becoming an instant martyr and revered as a spiritual leader. The religious overtones and implications of this are quite dangerous. It’s also intriguing that there is a crisis, essentially a power vacuum, within the FDP ruling board in the wake of Friend’s death. It was fun to see Kakuta reunited with his manga friends, and their commitment to draw a manga about the way the world really is, to show the world the truth; there are a bunch of self-referential meta-overtones to this that I really enjoy, the kind of thing you’d expect to see from revered mainstream writers like Alan Moore, Grant Morrison, or Warren Ellis. The relationship between Otcho and Kanna always thrills me, because Otcho is perhaps the most extreme or militant of the “uncles” and Kanna certainly has the potential to become the most powerful/militant character in this thing. So, when Otcho commits to keep fighting, and Kanna finally confesses her mother’s involvement, it’s a powerful little scene. In perfect Michael Crichton fashion, Yamane and Kiriko are the type of scientists who become so preoccupied with whether or not they could do something, that they never stop to ask if they should. Finally, Yamane has his crisis of conscience as he realizes Kiriko’s projection of only 1% of humanity surviving the global virus is absolutely accurate. Despite all my gripes about formulaic plot structure, the details do still surprise as I said. It was downright rousing to learn than Haru Namio was the drummer in Kenji’s old band! And that’s why he’s been secretly loyal to the cause, harboring Maruo, and infiltrating Friend’s organization with his special talent. “When the world’s full of fakes and liars, we need something real!” Indeed. The time isn’t noted, but it appears we jump ahead a few months, or maybe a year, because the virus outbreak is in full swing as we see this mysterious soba vendor who knew Kenji deal with it firsthand. It’s almost post-apocalyptic in those scenes. There’s a lady (Kiriko) roaming around with a vaccine, and we learn through Koizumi and her friends that the creepy salted salmon guy is probably (one of) the delivery method(s). At the end, Kanna and Koizumi prepare to descend into Friend Land in a last ditch effort to try and stop it.


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