Do you like lesbians? Do you like mass murderers? Do you like lesbian mass murderers? If you answered yes to all three of these questions then boy do I have a series for you! Yoshimurakana’s “Murcielago” is about Kuroko Koumori, plucked from death row for murdering a ton of people to put her talents to work for the state. So when a pro wrestler goes on a drug-fueled killing spree, she’s the perfect candidate to take him down. Same goes for a German murderer who’s partial to Beethoven and mollywire after he takes over a commuter train. It’s not all business all the time for Kuroko, however, sometimes she has to relax and enjoy herself. That usually involves setting up dates with unsuspecting women through a dating service, getting it on with the daughter of a local crime boss, hanging out with and trying to put the moves on her ditzy handler Ritsuko, and accepting an invitation from a vengeance-crazed millionaire who wants to rid the world of killers like her. It’s never a dull moment when you’re living life like Kuroko is!
Whether or not the reader will feel the same way about her adventures really does depend on how you answered those initial three questions I posed. Mangaka Yoshimurakana isn’t lacking for style in her over-the-top presentation of the action as you can expect to see cars driving fine after they fly off buildings, trains flying into buildings, and a mansion full of enough creative deathtraps to give the makers of the “Deception” games pause. It’s also refreshing to see that there’s no redemption angle being pursued with Kuroko’s job, and the fact that the sex-crazed protagonist of a manga actually manages to have sex (more than once) is certainly novel. The main problem here is that if you’re looking for any kind of depth to the characters or the storytelling beyond their dedication to providing slick, sexy thrills you are going to find yourself thoroughly out of luck. Also, anyone looking for more positive examples of LGBT representation in comics may find themselves put off by the fact that “Murcielago’s” approach to lesbianism is mainly geared towards appealing to guys. That’s part of its clear approach to pleasing its specific audience who will no doubt be pleased with what this volume has to offer.
In other words, expect a review of vol. 2 from me after it arrives in May.