Gangsta: Cursed Volume 1 by Kohske and Kamo

With cursed, Kohske’s former assistant Syuhei Kamo takes the reins to create an origin/background story for the human Marco Adriano. Although Kohske is the inspiration, Kamo does a superb job of capturing the look and especially feel of the Gangsta world. Indeed, I had no idea it was done by someone other than Kohske until the end where Kamo talks about his process. As such, I can safely say that those who like the superb Gangsta series will also greatly like Cursed.

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Story: Spas has understood one thing in his young life – the Twilights are a curse and must be removed in order to ensure humanity’s safety. Talented with wires, he is recruited into a group of human hunters who enter Ergastulum in order to destroy as many Twilights as possible. And the group is effective, slaughtering by the hundreds on their death spree. But Spas (who will one day become Marco) soon begins to doubt what he is doing as he sees families and children wholesale murdered for the crime of being a Twilight.

Kamo cleverly gives us little vignettes of quite a few Gangsta characters since this takes place well before the events in Gangster. It gives a better understanding of the various characters and their motivations/fears once they are older. But the focus is still Spas/Marco as he enacts his terrifying violence.

The drawing is assured and full of the nuances Kamo must have learned under Kohske. Panels are dynamic and perhaps the one difference between Kamo and Kohske is that Kamo focuses more on the violence than the pathos. Cursed is non-stop action as new and creative deaths are conceived. Kamo drives the story forward with the violence where Kohske used it to highlight the emotional resonance of the characters.

In all, another great entry in the Gangsta world. And although I received this as a digital review copy from the publisher, I will be purchasing the paperback as soon as it is released. Truly, one of the best series out there for its layers, nuanced storytelling, and superb art. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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