Considering how few Resident Evil games we’re getting it’s nice to know at least there’s a manga out there for us to enjoy. That’s moot if the manga is terrible and so far this series has been up and down on quality. That said, it’s still largely interesting because the virus has taken on a new form and the setting, a Catholic School for girls, is interesting enough. Volume 4 is out May 19th and I can tell you this: it’s not light on action.
Resident Evil, Vol. 4: The Marhawa Desire (Viz Media)
The book centers on a boy named Ricky who followed his uncle to the Marhawa Academy only to find people are being infected. They aren’t slow moving zombies though—quite the contrary, they’re super fast, and they’re somehow being turned by a gas. A girl named Nananis running around infecting people and we learn it’s partly due to her being bullied by the other girls. Her friend Bindi helped turn her into the monster she became and vice versa. The moral of the story is bullying is real bad, especially when a zombie virus is concerned. After a whole slew of kids get infected, the head nun gets murdered and Ricky’s uncle gets infected, and the B.S.A.A. shows up with Chris Redfield running the show.
Writer and artist Naoki Serizawa has kept one thing pretty consistent with this series and that’s the fact that it’s always changing and the art is always very detailed. What started as a slow building mystery turned into a tense thriller and now a full out action/adventure. Frankly if you’re a person who has a low attention span this series is for you. This volume is very focused on choreographed action and what appears to be a resolution for our heroes.
The remaining characters have basically given up hope on the school and are trying to keep themselves alive and reach a hidden helicopter. Along with Chris, there is Merah Biji and Piers Nivens—all highly trained and ready to take on zombies of every color. Merah gets the most time on the page as we not only get an interesting flashback to her backstory but a fantastic action sequence between her and a tentacled zombie monster. Serizawa really goes all out in this sequence as Merah flips, spins and goes full acrobatics on the zombie to kill the damn thing.
Overall this volume was one of the best because it keeps its foot on the gas pedal…to a point. The final 10 or so pages don’t feel very important and actually slow things down in order to set up the cliffhanger. This is somewhat expected since the story is told in chapters, but it does feel particularly wasteful when so much happens in the first three quarters of the book.
Serizawa’s art continues to be fantastic, with a lot of fantastic gore and interesting action sequences. The zombies work well too and there are some very dramatic moments for the characters to deal with as well. The only gripe I had was a few of the action poses of Merah which are more about showing off her crotch or ass than any real fight choreography. There’s one panel in particular that is pretty much the epitome of oversexualized comic art made more offensive now that everyone is talking about superheroines breaking their backs to show off their butts and breasts in the same shot.
I think this pose would break her back.
Is It Good?
Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire is an action-packed story that’s great at surprising the reader with a fresh change of pace and fantastic art every single volume.