Friday, June 19, 2009

Blank Slate, vol. 2

The story: Zen's mysterious past is finally revealed in this second, and last, volume. First, Zen visits his old home, where he was found after being severely injured ten years ago. Later, there is a confrontation where those involved in making Zen who he is today come out of obscurity and the conspiracy behind his existence is shared.

Reaction: There are quite a few big reveals in this volume, including the secret pasts of two important characters. When I learned the truth about them, it made me see the events of the first volume in a completely new light. Of course, I didn't particularly like the somewhat ambiguous death of one of the few likable characters.

Deep thoughts: This volume shows how hypnosis is used to control people. I've always found the ability to tap into someone's unconscious fascinating, especially when it causes people to act in a way they never would in real life. Of course, it's threatening on another level as well, as it allows someone to have complete control over you and your actions.

Artwork: The focus here is on the characters and Aya Kanno's art is still beautiful here, especially the younger versions of Dr. Hakka, Zen and Colonel Gia. Since this focus exists, there is very little else as a result. The scenes are sparse, only revealing the most needed details to communicate the setting. Unsurprisingly, the most detailed scenes are those involving the slaughter and death brought on by Zen throughout the years, truly showing his lack of humanity.

The verdict: If only... I really wanted to like Zen here and to support him, but I found myself without reason. While, in the end, he resolved to be the only one in control of his destiny, this story could have been so much more if, at long last, Zen was able to at least exhibit some of the simplest of human emotions. However, this volume is an improvement on the first and a good enough read if you like mysterious thrillers. Blank Slate is available in the U.S. from Viz.

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