Sun, 5 April 2009
Manga review of Eden Volume 9 by Hiroki Endo. Translated by Kumar Sivabramanian. Originally published in Japan by Kodansha. Published in US by Dark Horse, $12.95, Rated Mature, Ages 18+.
Volume 9 of Eden switches abruptly from the crime drama of Elijah, Helena, and Pedro to the oil rich desert of western China. An oil facility has been seized by Muslim terrorists (or, freedom fighters), and hostages have been taken. They are led by a charismatic young woman named Marihan Ishaq. Her forces did not seize the oil field as a random act of terror to take innocent lives. Instead, Marihan wants to bring attention to the plight of her people, an ethnic minority called the Uyghurs, who have little in common with their Chinese rulers. As oil has been found on their ancestral lands, the Chinese government and Propater have embarked on a course of intimidation and genocide to get rid of the Uyghur. Marihan has given them 24 hours to remove all Chinese and Propater troops from Uyghur lands or she will order the destruction of the facility and its important oil pipelines. Normally, Propater would be able to keep this incident off the news, but they haven't reckoned on the fact that NOMAD and Enoah's organized crime syndicate are backing the play of Marihan in an effort to show the true nature of Propater's operations. Meanwhile, the Closure Virus is mutating and seems to be acting almost sentient. Bad news for the human race.
This volume does a good job of proving the popular axiom that "one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter". You're always hearing in the news about guys seizing oil platforms around Africa or taking foreign hostages who work for Big Oil. In some cases, they are common criminals just out to make a quick buck, but here and there you'll hear about them doing it to protest the fact that the native people are not getting any of the revenue from the oil, or in some cases, the sale of diamonds. All of the billions of dollars are going to the fat cat government officials to pay for their car armadas or palatial retreats while the common people are living in huts. And they have a legitimate beef. Do you know what happens when an aggressor meets a defender? One side has to lose. What has happened throughout history is that a nation wants something bad enough, it will do whatever is necessary to acquire it. Including genocide, war, and expulsion. The Americas were just the same, when the Indians were practically exterminated and subjugated for their land. Even Japan has its own indigenous natives, the Ainu, and they were treated in much the same way (even though they try to shush it). Even today, some Ainu hide their ancestry to avoid discrimination by the Japanese. Endo also seems to be calling on references to what China has done and continues to do with Tibet. What has happened in all these cases is the goal of the government, be it American or Chinese, or Japanese, to swallow a whole people, Borg-like, and either "assimilate" them, or destroy them, as the case may be. And don't forget Palestine. Hiroki Endo is right up there with the greatest of sci-fi writers merely by the fact he is able to touch on so many global conficts and phobias and is able to pack them into an action comic book that touches the soul of our age.
My Grade: A+
You can listen to a podcast of Volume 1 at this link: