Blame! vol. 4 (TokyoPop edition) – Tsutomu Nihei

3 out of 5

I think Nihei is trolling us, as the story diversions at this point – another new form for Cibo; electronic pixies; silicon creatures, another new safeguard-esque race – begin to ridiculously stack up, just as volume 3 landed us in a promising place of exploring Toho Heavy Industries.  All of these ideas and concepts are interesting, but Blame!’s oblique, wandering beginnings are now far in the distance – just as we were maybe getting used to them – Tsutomu’s brain switched into high gear, dropping sci-fi bursts at a mile a minute.  It has quickly become a story during which I just sort of let the pages wash over me, content that Ill be coming back to get a better understanding once all ten volumes are read and done.  This isn’t the worst offense – your book is readable and intriguing – but it’s a narrative hitch that more planning should smooth out.  But it was Nihei’s first major work, eh?

Art-wise, again, we keep improving.  While his figured are a far cry from the sleek, confident lines of Sodonia, the creator continues to refine the focus of any given panel, separating foreground from background.  I think this is the first volume I felt like I followed the action completely, and that certainly helped get over the additional bumps in the story.

We’re sort of stalled going into volume 5, one of those new elements responsible for Killy’s and Cibo’s new direction, but that’s fine, we’re make-it-up-as-you-go territory, with a quick learner at the helm, so I’m along for the ride.