Zombie Powder Volume 1Somewhere in the desert lies the world’s greatest treasure: the 12 Rings of the Dead, the only source of the mysterious substance “Zombie Powder,” which can raise the dead and give the living eternal life…

The Man with the Black Hand: Elwood was a knife-thrower caught in a life of crime until he met Gamma Akutabi, class “S” criminal, a man with a 6-foot chainsaw and a metal hand. Soon, Elwood is caught up in Gamma’s quest for the most precious objects in the world, the Rings that might give new life to Elwood’s sister… or make Gamma even harder to kill than he is already. But to get eternal life, they’ll have to put their own lives on the line… and look down the barrel of the gun of the only man who is Gamma’s equal…

ZombiePowder was the first manga title to spring from the hands of Tite Kubo, the man responsible for the worldwide smash hit phenomena known as Bleach. As mentioned above, the story revolves around the Rings of the Dead, 12 rings that supposedly have the power to grant eternal life to the living and raise the dead back to life. The main hero of the story is Gamma Akutabi, one of those bad-ass, long hair in a long coat with a bad attitude brawlers that happens to have black armour grafted to his left arm and also swings around a six foot long chainsaw sword!

This first volume introduces us to Gamma and his quest to find the rings and basically puts him in a whole lot of danger and propels us through an almost endless number of action-packed fight scenes. Along the way we get introduced to a kid that ends up following Gamma as well as his equally hard to kill partner, C.T. Smith.

As I mentioned this volume is pretty much one long action sequence with a few story plot scenes forced in just to let you know where we are and what is going on. There’s a little sprinkle of drama in the sequences around Elwood’s sister, but apart from that it is fight, fight, fight. If you are familiar with Bleach then you will recognize Kubo’s writing style instantly, the non-stop action, impossible cool lead characters and the silly little bits of humour that get dropped in every now and then. His writing is like that of a Hong Kong action flick and is as enjoyable, even if it isn’t going to leave you scratching your head and pondering the mysteries of love and the universe.

Artistically speaking, Tite Kubo is not the most polished of manga artists out there and a lot of his shots look rushed and feel incomplete. He doesn’t seem too fond of drawing backgrounds or even drawing two eyes on his characters at times! Still, his linework does convey a sense of great energy and his action sequences are fast-paced and flow very nicely, making it an absolute breeze to follow what is going on in the sequence. His character designs are all sharp, stylish and ultra cool and his artwork works well for this kind of genre. Of course he does make use of a lot of humour in his writing and his art mirrors this, often going for extremely humorously deformed facial expressions and caricatures.

ZombiePowder is not going to win any awards for writing or art, but it is an action-packed rollercoaster that is a fun read, will make you laugh and gives you a great look at the early Tite Kubo as he was just starting out in a career of manga. A word of warning though – don’t get too stuck into ZombiePowder because unfortunately it is one of those unfinished titles that just gets dropped by its creator – which perhaps isn’t all that bad a thing if you consider the piece he moved on to is none other than the legendary Bleach!

Just a note, there is a bit of violence in ZombiePowder and the occasional severed head or finger does tend to fly by every now and then.

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZOMBIEPOWDER