Thursday, July 23, 2015

Review: RESIDENT EVIL: The Marhawa Desire Volume 5


CARTOONIST: Naoki Serizawa
ISBN: 978-1-4215-7376-2; paperback (July 2015); Rated “M” for “Mature”
168pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $14.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

VIZ Media's publication of the seinen manga, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, has come to an end with the publication of the fifth volume or graphic novel in the series.  An adult horror manga, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, serves as a comic book prequel to the story line of CAPCOM’s bestselling video game, Resident Evil® 6.  This iteration of Resident Evil introduces the highly virulent C-virus, and the manga explores the origins of this new outbreak.

The story begins with Doug Wright.  He is a professor in the Department of Sciences and Engineering at Bennett University, and he specializes in bacteriology.  He receives a letter from Mother Gracia, headmistress of Marhawa Academy, Asia's largest and most prestigious school.  Wright, who had a past relationship with Gracia, rushes to the school, with his nephew, 20-year-old Ricky Tozawa, in tow.  Deep in the jungle, Marhawa Academy is located within a giant, self-contained and self-sufficient complex.  There, Prof. Wright and Ricky find themselves caught in a deadly and growing tragedy that is an epidemic of zombie proportions.

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire, Vol. 5 (Chapters 33 to 39 – Final Chapter) opens as the remaining humans in the Marhawa Academy complex make their last stand against a legion of students, faculty, and staff turned zombies.  Ricky has joined a three-person team from the B.S.A.A. (Bioterrorism Security Assessment Alliance):  Chris Redfield (team leader), Merah Biji, and Piers Nivens.

They believe that they have found a way to escape the campus, but before they do that, they must fight their way not only through zombies, but also through monsters.  The bio-organic weapon (B.O.W.), Nanan Yoshihara, swings her horrible tentacles when she isn't spewing deadly virus gas, and Bendi Bergara has undergone a horrible transformation.  Meanwhile, the Hooded Woman lurks in the background, carrying the truth behind the Marhawa Incident.

[This volume includes a “Special Epilogue.”]

Sigh.  The Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire manga has come to an end.  I want more.  No, I have never played any Resident Evil video games, nor do I play video games in general.  I have not read previous Resident Evil comics, but I am a fan of the Resident Evil live-action film franchise that began with the 2002 film, Resident Evil.  I enjoyed reading the manga more than I have enjoyed watching the films, which I have, for the most part, found entertaining.

Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire Volume 5 offers a satisfying ending, relatively speaking.  Zombie apocalyptic fiction has to break your heart for every time it gives you a good outcome.  Writer-artist Naoki Serizawa gleefully poured on the gore and violence, and he gave us some attractive characters, so that he could use some of them to break our hearts.  He put the reader right in the middle of the action.  I felt that I had to run every time the heroes did, and I felt like every page was about a fight for my life, just as the heroes were fighting for their lives.

Yeah, you might say that this is “just” a Resident Evil comic, so it can't be that good.  Well, it is just a great Resident Evil comic, and it is that good because it is classic monster comics.  Read it by flashlight, under a bed sheet, while something scratches at your window.  Fans of horror manga and zombie comics will want the VIZ Signature title, Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire.


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux (Support Leroy on Patreon)

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