Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: RESIDENT EVIL: The Marhawa Desire Volume 1


CARTOONIST: Naoki Serizawa
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7372-4; paperback (November 2014); Rated “M” for “Mature”
176pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire is a manga that serves as a prequel to the storyline of CAPCOM’s bestselling Resident Evil® 6 video game.  This manga was originally published in Japan in 2012 by Akita Publishing Co., Inc.; now, VIZ Media is publishing the manga in North America as a 5-volume graphic novel series.

Resident Evil 6 introduces the highly virulent C-virus, but where did this new outbreak begin?   Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 6) opens at Bennett University in Singapore.  There, Doug Wright is a professor in the Department of Sciences and Engineering, and he specializes in bacteriology.  He receives a letter from Marhawa Academy, Asia's largest and most prestigious school.  The letter is written by Marhawa's Headmaster, Mother Gracia.

The fact that she had some kind of relationship with Wright in the past is probably the reason that Wright rushes to the school, which is located deep in the jungle, a giant, self-contained and self-sufficient complex.  Wright takes his nephew, 20-year-old Ricky Tozawa, with him because he is failing at Bennett and could use some extra credit work.  Prof. Wright and Ricky find themselves caught in a deadly and growing tragedy and perhaps, epidemic.  Meanwhile, Chris Redfield and his B.S.A.A. ( Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance) is looking for Prof. Wright.

First, I have never played any Resident Evil video games.  I did not read the Resident Evil comics produced by Marvel and Wildstorm a long time ago.  I am a big fan of the Resident Evil live-action film franchise that began back in 2002.  When I received a press release announcing the Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire manga, I was excited by that news.  When my VIZ Media rep sent me a copy of Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 1 for review, I was thrilled.

I like this manga.   Naoki Serizawa, the writer and artist behind Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, offers one of those horror stories that starts as a mystery about a conspiracy that a group of people are protecting.  Of course, this eventually leads to a horror bigger and worse than anyone realized.  I tore through this manga in one sitting.

I think Professor Doug Wright and his nephew Ricky Tozawa are good characters.  The reason is because they are two-things necessary in mystery and even horror fiction – open to the mystery, adventurous, and fearless enough/foolish enough to run into the belly of the beast that will eat them or turn them into zombies.  I am surprised that this story can be contained in five volumes.  Once again, I will admit my love of the Resident Evil movies, as I heartily recommend the VIZ Signature title, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, to you, dear readers.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux

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