Monday, August 21, 2017
Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt: Volume Four Review
With The One Year War over and an Armistice signed between The Earth Federation and The Principality of Zeon Io Fleming and Daryl Lorenz try to navigate a post-war world. With Io having to play the part of Hero to the remnants of The Moore Brotherhood and eventually being put into a position of authority in a battle against a Religious cult that has found out how to construct the Psycho Zaku due to rescuing a research scientist that had a hand in creating it. While Daryl has teamed up with a Zeon Loyalist Militia seeking to continue the fight despite the armistice signed between The Principality of Zeon and The Earth Federation all the while waiting for Karla Mitchum to come out of her coma. Mobile Suit Gundam Thunderbolt is probably one of the more grim entries in the Gundam franchise chronicling a world of militarized religious fanatics, Nationalists, and Cynical real politic. Io for his part only wants to get back into the thick of battle and willing to do anything to get there but still there is a haunted quality to Fleming partially due to Yasuo Ohtagaki's character design giving him a world weary look. While he is also written with a certain amount of hard won knowledge and knowing how to manipulate not only others but the media to get what he wants. While Daryl is still very much a boy at heart but still aged prematurely one of the best moments in the volume being when after Daryl's Mecha having been repaired is now given an emblem for his Gundam and a patch displaying his' Squadron's crest. Interestingly this comradery and simple thoughtfulness are juxtaposed with. Io and his frosty relationship with the powers that be. From his sister who now holds all political power in the Moore Brotherhood to his Fiancé's brother. While neither is particularly valorized or condemned for actions or loyalties it is odd that the remnants of Zeon end up feeling like the more likable of the two even though they are little more than terrorists. While the fight scenes are a tight almost claustrophobic mix of space battles in the first few chapters with panel layout that makes the chaos almost palpable. with small panels framed to give a sense of depth while the latter half on earth captures not only the space of earth but also the character's state of loneliness and alienation. The use of music a constant plot device throughout the series showing externally the interior state of the characters while also having a kind of dark irony given that most of this volume it is Daryl's love for Pop music with its lyrics of love and loss. Before his sortie for the mission to meet up with an intelligence agent in Baoa Qu. While not as unremittingly bleak as the first three volumes of the series this volume feels more like a quiet before the storm that helps establish the post-war world and never feels easy. While the introduction of the religious cult makes for something that often is not seen in Gundam series that is the place of Religion in warfare while the shaven-headed acolytes of this warrior monk cult feel eerily similar to the infamous Ultra-Nationalist group The League of Blood. Time will tell what will happen with this group but it is an interesting new development in a series that while deadly serious makes for a gripping mature story of war and politics.