Golosseum Vol. 1 (Kodansha)


CREDIT: Kodansha

Rating: 5/5 – Why I Read Manga, Part 423
by ComicSpectrum reviewer Al Sparrow

Hey politically-minded wrestling comic book satire historical science-fiction fighting buffs! Your book has finally arrived!

It is the year of the “Peacemaker” – a device worn on the wrist which renders the wearer impervious to any weapon, pushes them beyond their physical prime, and occasionally grants heightened powers. As a result, wars are now fought hand-to-hand, martial-arts style, as guns and bombs are now essentially useless against anyone wearing such a device. The victors are often those with access to this technology, which in this first volume is Russian president Vladislav Putinov (who looks like a more muscular version of a certain real life Russian president without so many letters in his last name). What will American leaders like President Billary Quintone (yes, she won the election in this book!) and her allies do against such amazing technology?

Take heart, because Rasputin (yes, THAT Rasputin) has a plan, and somehow the record albums sent up on the Voyager spacecraft are involved. Throw in a beautiful woman with amazing fighting skills (there has to be one, right?) and gifted with the ability to look into the past, the American Axe Bowgun (who bears an uncanny resemblance to a certain “Hulk” wrestler you’ll probably figure out before he utters his first “Brother!”), and a host of spitting image versions of prominent historical and political figures and…look, just pick this one up, okay?

Golosseum is a shining example of why I read manga. This is the type of story I just don’t get in Western books, and probably for good reason. The pitch I just gave you would likely get me bounced out of most of the big comics publishers. Even Image. It sounds like the rantings of an 8-year old, and yet creator Yasushi Baba manages to create a fun, action-packed, and downright believable “World of Next Week” for us. If not for the uber-violence it might have found a home in Mad Magazine or some underground publication. As a manga, it’s right at home, delivering perhaps every possible facet of what the medium is known for all in one package, with enough actual history (and “fake news”) thrown in to keep everyone off their guard.

This book has something for just about any reader out there, without actually trying to be all things to all readers. That’s no easy feat to pull off, but as I said in the intro, if you’re a wrestling fan? This is worth your time. If you like political satire? This is worth your time. If you like beautifully rendered women and men, both in various stages of undress? This is worth your time. If you like historical figures being re-imagined? This is worth your time. If you like science fiction? This is worth your time.  Etc.

Reviewed by: Al Sparrow (al@comicspectrum.com)
http://comicspectrum.com/ By Fans who Love Comics for Fans who Love Comics

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