February 23, 2007
To break up the monotony I mentioned earlier, here’s the newest volume of Phoenix. This one was amazing, truly amazing, and up with Karma and Nostalgia as my favorite volumes of a wonderful series.
There were two stories in this volume, and both were very good. Very good. I can’t say which I liked better. The first, Strange Beings, took the time element in the series and twisted it, which always makes for something interesting, because it means direct involvement by the Phoenix. As punishment for her murdering a nun, the main character gets stuck in the same 30-year time loop over and over again. There’s also some alternate dimension stuff at work, and a temple you can’t get away from, a story element I’ve seen as recently as Lupin III… 5 or 6, I think. I preferred this story, actually, purely because of the karmic time warp generated by the Phoenix.
Life was a good story too. The idea of having yourself cloned a thousand times to have yourself slaughtered over and over again for sport is a twisted and disturbing one, particularly if you are involved with the slaughter personally. It’s almost as crazy as having a disease which degenerates your face and makes you look like a dog. Well, in this story the Phoenix appears as a woman with a bird-face wearing a bird-mask, which is close enough. It’s the thought that counts, I suppose.
The second story I enjoyed mostly because it made me think of the Running Man, which not only draws Stephen King closer to Phoenix, but also Arnold Schwarzenegger is now that much closer. Factor in the fact that I can’t think of the Running Man without thinking of Smash TV, and you’ve got a crossover hit in three different forms of media, four if you count the original manga source. But I suppose that’s just me. That doesn’t make it any less awesome.
Sun is the last part, and I guess it’s three volumes long. Apparently there is a part that bridges past and future, which Tezuka said he’d end the series with, but I thought the series was supposed to be unfinished. I’m secretly hoping this is a ruse on the part of Viz, and I’ll get to the last volume and there’ll just be a big white page that says “SURPRISE!” and has the last chapter of Phoenix that draws everything together in the second half of the book or something. That would be cool.