Blood Blockade Battlefront 2
August 13, 2012
Yasuhiro Nightow – Dark Horse – 2012 – 2+ volumes
After Trigun crashed and burned in a major way at the end of the series, I was very surprised when Blood Blockade Battlefront wound up being… well, understandable. In fact, I loved the first volume, which I was not expecting. The Cthulhu-like takeover of New York City is super-interesting, not only because I like the weird monsters and situations that pop up, but also because Nightow’s action scenes have gotten much better since Trigun as well. That was another stumbling point at the end of the series, that I couldn’t tell what was going on. Not so for Blood Blockade Battlefront.
In the two volumes I read, the only part I had trouble understanding was the set-up to the first story in this volume. Libra’s leader is, for some reason, playing escort for a celebrity in a game with a kind of Cthulhu crime leader. That he is an escort is not explained, so I was confused about what was going on for about half of the story. I was still a bit unclear about how the celebrity got the gig playing the crime leader in this game, or why he required an escort.
The rest of that chapter was fantastic, though. The Libra leader, Klaus, constantly plays the Cthulhu variant of chess, and the depiction of this game is utterly fantastic. It’s what a fantasy-themed boardgame of the future should be. I mean, the monster folds time and space to play it, and it taxes the mind to the point where the player risks going insane every time they play. But Klaus is up to the challenge. It’s so good.
Plus, I liked the suspense-minus-action story. The boardgame is played as a means to get information from the Cthulhu monster that enjoys playing it, so there are action scenes before and after the boardgame war. But that’s what I’ll remember most about this volume.
The second half of the volume is about fighting vampires. Blood Blockade Battlefront is better than that, though, so the vampires are hunted by the bright aura they give off that only Leonard, the main character can see. They wind up chasing them into some sort of crazy vampire pit. Their consultant on this case has been cursed by Cthulhu monsters to have bad luck, but as he is agile enough to avoid the plentiful accidents that happen around him, it’s those that he travels with that have to be weary.
I don’t know, there are just so many good ideas in this series, and I love that they are just dashed off one right after the other. It’s pretty great for that reason alone. There are a lot of action scenes, and while Nightow can draw a fantastic action scene, that’s the least exciting thing about this series. It’s really the bizarre world that’s sustaining the story at this point, and that’s good enough for me.