Monday, February 1, 2010

Manga Monday: Golgo 13: Gravestone in Sicily

I have been picking up viz's somewhat recent volumes of Golgo 13, the decades old manga originated by Takao Saito. For those of you who don't know, Golgo 13 (also known as Duke Togo) is a world class hit man, with a perpetually expressionless face. He has big eyebrows and sideburns, and uses a sniper rifle to fulfill his contracts. He never misses his target, and charges top dollar for his "hits". Men fear him, women want him, and all he ever really has to say is "...".

Volume 8 in viz's 13 volume in total run entitled "Gravestone in Sicily" really appealed to me. The first story, titled merely Telepath features an event that happens once in a lifetime, like a first kiss or finding that one Bruce Willis who doesn't die in a catastrophic train crash...GOLGO 13 misses! It seems he was assigned a target that is the one man who can't be killed. Two elite hit men already attempted hits on this target, and died in the process. Duke comes out ahead in this respect at least, and survives his attempt, but is momentarily shaken by his failure. A woman is with the target, and looked directly at Golgo 13 before he pulled the if she knew he was there! Golgo suspects her as the reason for his missed shot, and begins to uncover a world of psychic spies. The woman has psychic powers, and was responsible for the dead hit men and Golgo's misfire. What depths of the human mind must Duke Togo trudge to overcome the powers of a telepath? Or does he already have the skills necessary?

Golgo 13 visits yoga masters and scientists specializing in brainwaves to try and train his mind to become undetectable, and both are shocked at Golgo's already considerable mastery of the's another common "MY GOD...WHO ARE YOU?" moment which happens in almost every Golgo 13 story...where someone realizes Golgo 13 is the ultimate warrior/ man. Despite Duke missing his shot at first, this story really illustrates the equation Golgo 13=Badass well.

The title story, Gravestone in Sicily, is a more godfather esque, traditional hit man story, involving Italian mobsters, priests and doves. I really dig the Chester-Gould esque criminals in this story, all of the character designs in this story are extremely appealing. There is a pretty fun twist at the close of this story as well. I would recommend picking up these volumes if you like James Bond or spy stories, and over the top manga. Part of my immense like of Golgo 13 is the over the top quality of the character, and this volume I think illustrates how over the top Golgo 13 can be, without a shred of irony.