Although a spin off, this is probably one of the best I’ve read. All of the horrible and terrifying pathos of the original series is fully intact here in this story of Spas/Marco Adriano and how he turned from being a hunter of Twilights to a hunter of Hunters.
As Spas recognizes the evil the Hunters are doing, he finds himself in the middle of a war: trying to save both Hunters and Twilights from the greater evil manipulating them. But sometimes, the only solution to stop death is to kill: as he confronts his friend, the very psychotic Marie/Maverick, he recognizes that in her insanity, she is beyond reason and will continue to slaughter Twilights. But how can he kill the person who has cared for him for so long? Meanwhile, Nick is sent after “the Burner” who has been wreaking havoc and killing the elite Twilights. And Munroe watches comfortably as Striker and Beretta attempt to siege his stronghold and are efficiently rebuffed.
Gangsta remains one of the best written shounen series out there. The sheer amount of violence can be tough to stomach at times but clearly is not there for sensationalism or to use action to cover poor story writing. This is one of the few manga where you really have to go over every panel carefully or you will miss important clues about the story. Because it is so intricately nuanced both visually and through prose, it’s a manga that you want to reread as often as possible to see all the hints, clues, and layered storytelling. Easily, this is one of the best stories out there, if you can get past the blood and violence. Amidst all the despair in Egastulum, Kohske is always careful to sow little glimmers of hope, some of which will be crushed and others nurtured. It’s a harsh world he’s created.
I am glad to have this side story of Marco and certainly it casts a very different light on him and his role in the original Gangsta series. The high quality of the origin story is also upheld and clearly this is high level storytelling at its best. I look forward to the next volume to see how Spas eventually turns into Marco. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.