The War on Flesh
Story: Justin Boring and Greg Hildebrandt
Art: Tim Smith 3
Rating: (Older Teen/16+)
Previewed by Jon Minners
TOKYOPOP has a proven track record of taking a genre that is familiar with fans and reworking it into a fresh, new concept that leaves readers on the edge of their seat, wanting more and scared of whatís to come. For instance, Priest has and continues to captivate the minds of readers with its gothic look at religion; a story of a man who turned his back on God and sold his soul to the dark side so that he could avenge the brutal killing of his love. Its unique look at religion has left readers pondering their own beliefs as they watch the drama unfold in a fiery pool of blood, violence, great character development and wonderful storytelling. Readers eagerly anticipate the end, but are afraid of what lurks behind the next page; a new challenge for their minds to wrap around. And if you thought Priest was something, you havenít seen anything yet.
TOKYOPOP has done it again with another dark religiously themed tale set in the world of voodoo and curses. The War on Flesh is a tale of fate, emotions, drama and violence; a place where zombies do exist and the balance between the living and the undead is about to tip in their favor. Justin Boring has teamed up with Greg Hildebrandt, son and nephew of the legendary Brothers Hildebrandt, along with Marvel, DC and Devilís Due artist Tim Smith 3 to create a story that will entertain, frighten and challenge the minds of readers everywhere. Showing influences from the great Korean Manwah that is still giving readers chills, The War on Flesh may just be the new Priest.
The gritty manga takes place many generations ago when a witch doctor named Ew Chott loses his mind, turns his back on God, joins the Dark Forces and completes his wicked voodoo curse known as The War on Flesh. Realizing that if they do not act quickly, they will end up facing an unstoppable foe, Sergot, a fearless leader from Ew Chottís ancient Haitian tribe, takes action to defeat the evil doctor before he unleashes his curse on an unsuspecting world. All seems saved, but Ew Chottís curse lives on in his offspring, a child that Sergot unknowingly accepts into his home when his children discover the abandoned baby amidst their travels. A book containing the story of the curse and the destiny that must be fulfilled is also hidden for someone else to find. One day, the two will collide.
Several generations pass and that day finally seems near. Quanyo, the fourth generation woman from Ew Chottís wicked bloodline gives birth to Jean Tois, the man destined to carry out Ew Chottís evil legacy. Many years pass and Jean Tois is gunned down in the crossfire between two rival gangs deep within the bayous of Louisiana. Stricken by the loss, it is actually the father, Venture, who is given an opportunity to bring him back, but at a very steep price. Is it Godís will to leave Jean Tois dead? What will Venture sacrifice, physically and mentally, to bring his son back? What fate lies for a family that wants to mourn the loss of a son, not the loss of their faith? What fate will the rest of the world face when Ew Chottís designs finally take fruition and an army of the undead seems ready to pounce on the world to declare a war on the living; The War on Flesh.
ďThis isnít your typical, formulaic zombie fare,Ē said TOKYOPOP series senior editor Aaron Suhr. ďItís got creepy voodoo magic and mystery, and crazy, fast-paced action. These undead minions arenít dragging their feet in search of a brainy snack; theyíre angry undead warriors out for blood. And Timís art style is perfectly suited for such a dark and gritty tale. War on Flesh is some good eatiní Ė I mean reading.Ē
I could not have said it better myself, but I will try. At first, I didnít like the abstract nature of the art and yet as I read the tale and became immersed into the characters and the situation, the art seemed to be a perfect fit for the dark, unnerving plot and made me quite nauseous and frightened by the realism depicted in several mind-numbing panels. The writing was top notch and the character development seems to be picking up steam now that the main idea has taken shape. While reading The War on Flesh, the reader will get the feel that they are watching a movie being played out from one panel to the next. Everything just jumps off the page and the story resonates in the mind, where it will remain for as long as the series runs. What would you do if a loved one died well before his or her time? Would you go with God or would your beliefs be easily manipulated at the idea of once again holding, talking and enjoying the person you loved so deeply, if it was possible for that person to come back? What price would you pay; money, your body, your soul?
Writers like Boring and Hildebrandt, who do more than just entertain, but actually make readers think are a rare breed that must be honored and cherished. The best way to do so is to allow their words, their thoughts, their characters and their stories to enter your mind and let your imagination take hold. Do so, by checking out the first volume of this new masterpiece when it is released everywhere this September. You will not be able to put it down and with so much to discuss from one volume, you can take strange solace in the fact that The War on Flesh has only just begun.