Can’t Kiss the Ring (of the Dead): A knife-thrower. A sharp-shooter. A martial artist with a metal hand. And now… a journalist?! Meet the newest member of Gamma Akutabi’s gang, the amazing Wolfina, as deadly with a camera as her friends are with a gun. Their goal is to find the Rings of the Dead… but only Wolfina knows the Rings’ true twisted nature firsthand, having seen them turn her brother into a mindless husk. Does the secret of eternal life now dwell in her brother’s body? And what kind of human vultures would pry the secrets from his remains?

Tite Kubo’s ZombiePower, the same mangaka that went on to create the hugely successful and popular title Bleach, continues its story about the seemingly invulnerable rogue and s-class villain with the metal hand, Gamma Akutabi and his quest to find the legendary Rings of the Dead with this volume 2 release. The story follows on directly from the first volume and sees the trio of unlikely partners in the process of stealing their first Ring of the Dead from a heavily guarded building, though taking the ring may actually prove to be more deadly than getting to it was in the first place!

Also, we get introduced to a new major cast member in the form of the spunky, vivacious young reporter Wolfina, who turns out to be harboring some pretty deep secrets, the least of which seems to be the actual location of another Ring of the Dead!

As with the last volume, the story is heavily action-orientated and Tite sets up some great action-packed encounters that features a lot of explosions and a fantastic mix of his ever over the top characters, both as villains and as protagonists. Gamma Akutabi’s character gets nicely expanded upon and in the process has a whole lot of new abilities briefly shown to us, tantalizing us just that little bit extra. As always, the heavy melodrama and motivations for character actions are present and similarly, the quirky and sometimes quite unexpected humorous moments litter the pages left, right and center, making for a smooth and quite enjoyable Shonen read.

Artistically Tite continues to throw his lanky posed characters at us and as we’ve come to expect from the master, his depiction of action sequences and ultimately “coolness”, are absolutely spot on. Of course, this does mean he still harbors that intense dislike for drawing backgrounds and so once again don’t expect too much in terms of background details. However, when it comes to characters his sharp and often untidy pencils capture emotion and tone perfectly and his clever use of sometimes dropping certain facial features or forcing in exaggerated elements works like an absolute charm.

As we’ve come to expect, character design remains a plus and we’re treated to some great larger than life characters, including the maniacal magician Balmunk who seems the perfect foil for Tite to cut loose against! It’s not polished, its not very detailed and there isn’t a great deal of background information to soak in, but it flows surprisingly smoothly and you’ll find yourself turning the one page after another as the book sucks you in and forces you to advance at its breakneck pace.

(And in case you still aren’t satisfied with the main storyline, the guys have seen fit to toss in a short from Tite, the very first one he drew in fact, entitled Ultra Unholy Hearted Machine, which goes a long way in showing just how Tite has since improved upon his craft).

ZombiePower is a fast-paced, action-packed read with some good laughs to be had, a fair bit of graphic violence to glance through and more importantly delivers a great little story that certainly seems to be building up a good head of steam. Of course, we all know that he never finished this particular series (after all, why would you want to go back if your next title made it as big as what it has), but it is still well worth picking up and paging through, even if it is just to get more of this manga master’s work!

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