Head and shoulders

It’s hard for me not to like a comic about invasive parasites that take over humans and turn their heads into shape-shifting weapons so they can eat uninfected humans. Throw in a parasite that doesn’t quite live up to its potential and ends up trapped in the hand of a high-school student, and my resistance weakens even further.

Okay, so the art in Hitoshi Iwaaki’s Parasyte (Del Rey) isn’t all it could be. So the high-school girls look to be around 40 years old. So there are more mullets than might be strictly necessary. Even those minor pitfalls give the series an early-1990s charm that ends up working in its favor.

I always prefer science fiction or fantasy with a healthy dose of character development, and Iwaaki is extremely conscientious on this front. Beyond the human-eating peril the parasites present, there are interpersonal tensions that develop as a result of the extreme circumstances. While the third volume features a great deal of gore, Iwaaki doesn’t neglect smaller moments, even sweetly surreal ones.

The third volume offers weirdness to spare, and it’s delightful. The concluding chapter looks at the response of media, government and law enforcement to the emerging crisis, and it’s one of the funniest things I’ve read in months. And it’s intentionally funny, no less, which makes for a nice change of pace in an otherwise tense narrative.

(Based on a complimentary copy provided by the publisher.)

5 Responses to Head and shoulders

  1. […] at a crack-tastic Japanese title, Hakodate Youjin Buraijou Himegami, at Okazu. David Welsh enjoys vol. 3 of Parasyte at Precocious Curmudgeon. The Manga Recon team posts some mini-reviews and a rundown of Shojo Beat […]

  2. John Jakala says:

    I’m really enjoying this series as well. I thought Shin’s struggles to retain his humanity in this volume were especially engaging. And the story must really be captivating me because I haven’t been bothered by the art at all, and usually I feel like I’m the one being too picky when it comes to artistic quirks.

  3. Huff says:

    Iwaaki may not have the prettiest art but he uses his visuals like few authors do. It isn’t as noticeable in Parasyte but his current work, Historie (which also sports more detailed and refined art to boot), has some truly incredible visual storytelling.

  4. oingoboingo says:

    Parasyte is one book that seriously impressed the hell out of me. The interaction between Shin and the alien is priceless, the brutality of the aliens is ruthless; yeah, the art is rough, but the writing is aces. This is one book I can´t wait to get the next volume of and looking at the huge stack of unread books next to my bed, that means a lot.

  5. Myk says:

    And for what reason ever, wordpress logged my comments as oingoboingo… WTF !?!?

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