Saturday, June 1, 2013

Index: The Comic Pusher Review of Naoki Urasawa's Pluto

The Run: Naoki Urasawa's Pluto

In The Run I review an entire run of a particular series. Pluto, published in 8 volumes in the United States by Viz, is Naoki Urasawa's masterful adaptation and expansion of Osamu Tezuka's Astro Boy.   An astonishing original work in its own right, Pluto is a masterpiece and one of the finest comics ever produced. Below are links to my reviews of the individual volumes in the series, as well as my concluding analyses and essays on the work as a whole.
  • Pluto Volume 1: "Urasawa expands on Osamu Tezuka's original creations and crafts an original and mature story of startling power. Pluto is a riveting mystery of murder, horror and war, an exploration of love, loss, and life, and a visionary work of science fiction that utilizes futuristic set-pieces to movingly examine the very root of the human condition... frankly one of the finest comics of the 21st century"
  • Pluto Volume 2: "Again we see the world coming to terms with the the developing intelligence around them and what that means for Robots and Humans. And it is in Volume 2 that we begin to see the larger geopolitical picture at play and the forces manipulating things from a distance."
  • Pluto Volume 3: "The mysteries weaving throughout the series come into unexpected sharp focus... The series' multiple identity as not just a mystery and international thriller, but surprisingly scary work of horror also come to the fore. There is plenty to fear, from the creepy abilities of one subtly monstrous robot at the beck and call of a mysterious foe, to grand shifting horrors beyond human and even robot understanding... Things are coming into focus at the same time the lines blur even more, the lines between guilt and innocence, beauty and horror, war and peace.  And we are given moments of beauty wrapped in pain, and startling revelations that ask more questions than they answer."
  • Pluto Volume 4: "The scenes that follow are pure moments of riveting suspense that drive the story forward into amazing, nonstop action-packed set pieces. Naoki Urasawa and Takashi Nagasaki's scripting and Urasawa's art evoke an astonishing economy of storytelling, propelling the plot forward with an emotion and tension that are rarely seen in comics of any stripe."
  • Pluto Volume 5: "The scripting continues to leave you breathless, as does the astonishing art. From a robot compulsively washing its hands, unable to clean the metaphorical blood on them, to a quiet dinner packed with subtext, the quiet moments of pain and loss and grief which fill the book are seismic. And amongst all the pain and sadness there is hope, bleeding in around the edges. But things are darkest before the dawn and under gathering storm clouds, we are still far from sunlight."
  • Pluto Volume 6: "A tightly plotted thriller with equal parts explosive action and riveting suspense-filled conversations. Urasawa continues to pull out a virtuoso performance of comic storytelling. Extraordinarily powerful and moving, this is a work of art that says volumes about the human condition, one of the finest accomplishments of the medium."
  • Pluto Volume 7: "This is the weakest volume in the series, but even a weak turnout from Urasawa is stronger than most comics. His and Nagasaki's writing is just as sharp, his art no less emotive and powerful."
  • Pluto Volume 8: "In the end, the final battle becomes about overcoming nature, be it the darkness that exists in all of us or the programming and orders given to a tortured soul. Urasawa's art throughout this last volume is frankly astonishing. His depictions of human emotion and suspenseful character drama are matched by his world-shattering battle sequences, quiet moments of pain and loss and explosive action. This is a story about the transformative power of loss. It is about the darkest aspects of our nature that makes us human. It is about the evils of war and the scars of war that echo down through the years. It is about the subjective reality of memory. It is a story of evolution and change and becoming human through trial and pain. And it is about the power of love to break the cycle of hate, the beauty within to overcome the darkness."
  • And finally, my analysis and exploration of Pluto (split into three parts). In the first part of my treatise, I examined The Role of Hatred, Redemption, and Evolution in Pluto. In the second part I looked at Humanity and the Role of Memory in Subjective Reality in Pluto and I also examined the Effects of War and Urasawa's commentary on the Iraq War and American Imperialism. And here in the third and final part, I examine Urasawa's craft and Pluto's role as a fiercely original work.

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