Title: Gangsta: Cursed EP_Marco Adriano
Artist: Syuhei Kamo
Publisher: Viz Media
Volume: Volume 1, $12.99
Vintage: December 20, 2016
Genre: Action, drama
In 2015 Manglobe Studio released Gangsta. A gritty crime drama centered around two accomplished “Handymen”. Individuals who take on odd jobs that the mob and police force aren’t able to handle. Through their eyes we’re shown the town of Ergastulum, a town split between the mob families, a dirty police forces, the prostitutes and street hoods and a small band of superpowered mercenaries call the Twilights.
Gangsta: Cursed serves as a backstory and focuses squarely on the character Marco Adriano who becomes the bodyguard of Christiano crime families leader Loretta. As a youth Marco runs with a group of Twilight hunters who believe them to be unnatural monsters. The hunters rampage through the town of Ergastulum killing Twilight’s as well as any normal humans that stand in their way. Ultimately leaving Marco questioning himself, the hunters and wondering who the real monsters are.
Writer Kohske makes his “Who is the real monster?” point clear from the opening pages of Cursed. He however, leaves a lot of other details to the imagination. While it seems that the hunters’ motivations may be due to indoctrination there isn’t much insight into how they got that way nor are their motivations consistent. Some hunters express their motivations to be money while others due to the heroic duty. It can be difficult sometime to figure out why each character is doing what he/she is doing.
The art of Gangsta: Cursed suffers from a huge flaw though. It requires the reader to know about its world before they ever open the book which isn’t great for new readers to latch onto. While i assume this title is supposed to serve as a companion to the original Gangsta manga released five years ago or it’s more recent anime adaptation it’s still a strange thing to do to omit even the base information regarding why the hunters would even care about Twilights in the first place. Gangsta the anime chose to tell that story in a very Tarantino way using frequent flashbacks during key events to explain why the characters do what they do. However, I don’t think that translates well to this flashback story. If that is the direction this series is going in then the original Gangsta will be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to follow the story further.
The art is beautiful, the action is fantastically rendered, consistent and non-stop. However, the storytelling leaves a lot out and anyone new to the world of Gangsta is going to be confusing outside of an “I hate these people for existing” premise. I’d recommend reading the 2011 manga or watching the anime version of Gangsta before picking this up. It will be a much more satisfying experience if you do.