Review by Nolan P. Smith
Writer: Yu Sasuga
Artist: Ken-Ichi Tachibana
Publisher: Viz Signature
Rating: M for Mature
(Victor Valley)—I hate bugs. I am almost certain most readers will agree with me in their dislike for insects as well. So, what if you take one of the most annoying, disgusting bugs (the cockroach) and turn it into a super strong, humanoid killing machine? That’s a nightmare waiting to happen, and happens in Viz’s Terra Formars.
The manga takes place in the late 26th century, and the problem is that the human population has outgrown Earth. The answer? Make Mars an inhabitable planet so that the human race can expand to the red planet. Of course, the atmosphere of Mars is not one humans can live on, hence the terraforming of the planet by way of cockroaches. Once the planet was terraformed, a team was sent to destroy the bugs, but the mission was a failure. Now, a new team is sent to exterminate the bugs, but what they find is far worst than your average pest.
Shokichi Komachi, a young Japanese man with a secret, is one of the new crew sent to destroy the bugs. What he finds is that the cockroaches have mutated into strong, humanoid like beings, and they only want to do one thing: destroy humans. Luckily, the international team assembled for this job came ready, as they all underwent a “bugs procedure”, which gives them abilities of specific insects as a means to protect themselves on this foreign planet.
The story for the first volume is an absolute shocker, with twists and turns abound. The story is dark, violent, yet extremely entertaining, as you don’t want to put the book down. The art, though black and white, conveys the danger and violence superbly, and shows the cockroach humanoids as horrifying beings of immense power. If you don’t mind a healthy dose of violence in your manga/comic books, then there is no way you should miss this.
I had no idea what to expect when this book arrived in the mail, and by the end of it, I was already online, checking to see how many more volumes were out. I give Terra Formars Volume 1 a 9 out of 10; it is one of the most promising manga titles I have read this year.