Grey issue #1.
Published by Viz Select Comics Monthly in 1988.
Story Written and Drawn by Yoshihisa Tagami
Translated by Gerard Jones and Satoru Fuji
The Story :
Grey has managed to survive his squad's death during it's latest operation.
He's been left in a desert attempting to survive and to return to his home.
During this time, his mind begins to recall the events that lead to his becoming
a soldier and leading to this point in time for himself. It was his drive to
become a citizen in his future distopian society that lead him there. A single
soldier from the other side continues to pursue him as his memories echo thru
his mind. Amongst some ancient ruins he manages to end his opponent just as
his final memories of why he became as soldier conclude. and his rescue ride arrives.
"Battle Theater 807 part 1"
Grey is placed into a new squad and with a new mission. Most of this squad is not
too pleased with his presence due to his reputation and the nickname of "Grey Death".
They quickly load up and head out together on their mission. One where the odds are
stacked against them, as they soon figure out. They quickly begin to loose their
members due to their poor battle plans to take out the enemy, but thanks to Grey
ignoring those plans, most of them manage to survive what would otherwise have
been a short battle. Later as they relax at night, they are discovered by a group of the
enemy and are attacked while unprepared. They begin to loose even more members of
their squad as with very little firepower, they manage to defeat their attackers. Now only
three members, including Grey survive. Only a third of their original number.
The Review :
I read this originally back in '88, as it came out and was impressed with it then.
At the time I had read few manga, but I had been a long time anime fan, so it
was a nice and expected change compared to that coming out from North
American comics. It was a pleasant and interesting military science fiction tale.
The first story was a nicely paced and well done one for a formula telling of a
back story for the main character while also introducing us to both he and his world.
Not much more then his motivation was really given there, but it was as deep as
most of the fare you'll find on a comic rack, then or now. The dialog, while lite, did
fit the pacing and seemed to work with the art well. The second story serves to
flesh out Grey more as well as the setting of his world. The interactions given
are a greater insight into his character as well as the rest of the squad and the
world they're in.
The artwork was enjoyably different with the very cartoony way with the faces of
the characters were drawn. The backgrounds were realistic appearance and gave an
interesting contrast to the story and characters plus it worked extremely well with
the lack of colour to complete this effect. Clean with subtle strong lines, it was
refreshingly different to see. The equipment used, I should note, is straight out of
Jayne's, it seems to me, with terrific details on the tanks, guns and the other
I liked it, but then, I do like manga with it's slower pace and various styles when
compared to most of what we all get to see with North American or European comics.
Back then, when this first came out and I had read it, it was an amazing change for
me. Manga was just really getting started to be translated back then for a commercial
North American market and this was amongst the first of those to appear. It was also
one that worked for well for me then, with it's different tone and styles. It was a stark
simple story that you could almost have seen on the old Twilight Zone tv series perhaps.
It still holds up for me and this, after only having read it once prior. I suggest if you
can find it, try it. More so if you're into manga or sci-fi or just perhaps curious to try
the genre. It's not a terribly long manga series compared to some.
For more information on this manga - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grey_%28manga%29