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Prophecy, Vol. 2

Apologies for the delay in this week’s midweek manga review… Well, I can’t really call this a midweek review when it lands on a Firday, huh? Call it what you will, but it’s here! Before you take a look at Prophecy, Vol. 2 from Vertical Comics, have some news…

And now onto this weeks review of Prophecy, Vol. 2!

Prophecy, Vol. 2Prophecy, Vol. 2
By Tetsuya Tsutsui
Vertical Comics, 210 pp
Rating: Not Rated

In a story that could be ripped from today’s headlines, Tetsuya Tsutsui’s Prophecy, Vol. 2, follows the Lieutenant Yoshino and Japan’s Anti Cyber Crimes Division getting ever closer and closer to uncovering and capturing the identity of the enigmatic cyber terrorist known only as Paperboy. As his attacks become more political and more high profile, one of his accomplices faces a crisis of conscience that could prove to be Paperboy’s undoing!

Prophecy, Vol. 2 is definitely an interesting read and one that feels incredibly relevant in today’s ever more interconnected society. Tetsuya Tsutsui weaves a tale which looks at the familiar issue of anonymity on the internet, mixed with other concerns and issues faced by modern Japanese society. The result is a cyber thriller that’s both familiar but different from similar stories here in the U.S. Some of differences are more obvious than others, such as the Sea Guardians, a thinly veiled reference to the controversial Sea Shepard organization being a target, something that would mostly likely be absent from a similar tale taking place in the West. Other moments might be easy to miss or mistake for similar scenes in the U.S. as well. The hordes of people showing up to record a possible murder, for example. While a similar scene wouldn’t exactly be out of the question in the U.S., I found it difficult not to see the event as an echo of the Akihabara massacre from 2008, which allegedly involved several people live streaming the attack and its immediate aftermath.

On the other hand, surrounding this interesting premise and littered throughout the story are characters who’re almost cartoonishly over the top at times. The highway police officer drooling over Lieutenant Yoshino, or Yoshino herself who boldly stakes her career upon a single stake out in a scene that feels like it’s right out of a Hollywood blockbuster. Even the Sea Shepard stand-ins get in on the over the top antics when they’re shown to be practically cackling with glee as they try and smear the Japanese police because they were given a male officer to guard them instead of an attractive woman office. All these little moments detract from the more serious and fascinating premise and result in Prophecy, Vol. 2 having a rather odd feel to it at times.

Page from Prophecy, Vol. 2

Our first look at Paperboy in action in “Prophecy, Vol. 2.”

The artwork’s solid and depicts everything in a clear and easy to follow manner, but I wasn’t really blown away by Tetsuya Tsutsui’s visuals. The internet cafes, the busy streets and more are all nicely rendered and do a lot to help the contemporary and modern feel of the story. Even including characters in the background help lend a sense of weight to the story, implying that there are people who could be affected by Paperboy’s events beyond his targets and those pursuing him. Paperboy himself is clearly the most standout design and thanks to the newspaper mask and really snazzy looking t-shirt which is designed like a typical iPad or tablet interface he cuts a rather dashing and memorable figure.

Prophecy, Vol. 2 was a solid and engaging read, but it didn’t quite blow me away. That said, it did intrigue me. It was definitely interesting and different enough that I’ll be tracking down the other two volumes in the series in the near future and I’m looking forward to getting to read the entire series in a single sitting. If you’re looking for a different, contemporary series that tells a story that’s relevant to the modern society, then this is absolutely the manga for you.

Prophecy, Vol. 2 is available now from Vertical Comics. Review copy provided by the publisher.

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  1. March 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm

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