Manga In Minutes: Trigun Maximum Omnibus, Vol. 1
Yasuhiro Nightow’s space western epic continues with Trigun Maximum Omnibus, Vol. 1. Taking place two years after the events of Trigun, Vol. 2, the tale of Vash continues as he’s forced to shed off the peaceful life he’s made for himself when bandits threaten his adopted family. Following this return to action he finds himself once more harried by the Gun Ho Guns, the minions of his powerful sibling, Knives.
Don’t let the name change fool you, Trigun Maximum is simply a continuation of Trigun. The name change was necessitated due to changing publishers, it also just happens to create a nice jumping on point for new readers. The old lovable Vash is still around, as are his various companions, Millie, Meryl and of course, the roughish, mysterious Nicholas D. Wolfwood. That said, the story does seem to take a slightly more serious and darker turn than previous volumes. While the humor is reigned in a bit, it’s still present, especially during the early chapters of the book, but once the action kicks in and the Gun Ho Guns turn up, Nightow rarely breaks the mood for comedic reasons like he did in the first two Trigun volumes. This massive volume is mostly concerned with elaborating on Vash’s philosophy and motivations a bit more. Nightow spends quite a bit of time juxtaposing his idealistic belief of the basic good in humanity and that every life matters, against that of Wolfwood’s much more pragmatic one. Maybe it’s because of a recent conversation on Twitter, but I couldn’t help but feel that Nightow was attempting to cast Vash as an almost Christlike figure at times. He’s eternally forgiving, firmly against taking another’s life, and seems determined to save people from themselves, and believes that everyone’s worth saving even if the people they’re trying to save don’t believe it. It’s an attitude that grates on Wolfwood to no end, and one that he challenges constantly, adding a little friction to the duo’s various interactions.
Nightow’s visuals seem to be tightening up quite a bit as well, either that or I’m just getting used to the insanely cluttered panels. Either way the action scenes are as intense and over the top as ever, but a little clearer and less cluttered, though there are still times when certain transitions and individual panels require more deciphering than they should. In addition there are some fantastic double page splash pages which are absolute treats to see. The darker tone of the story is reflected and emphasized among several of the villains Vash encounters. Nowhere is this more evident then in Grey the Ninelives. A villain who appeared in the anime as a powerful cyborg, is here turned into some sort of biological weapon. His battle with Wolfwood is incredibly brutal and surprisingly gory, but it takes a disturbing and horrific turn when, after blowing a sizable hole in Gery’s chest, Wolfwood peers into the wound and the wound… stares back! Eyes glittering in the dark from the depths of the ruined torso caused the scene to jump from over the top, bloody action into deeply unsettling nightmare territory! It was an incredibly unexpected and disturbing visual, and is probably the stand out moment of the entire volume for me.
Trigun Maximum Omnibus, Vol. 1 is a good buy in more ways than one. Not only is it a brick of a book, collection material from the first three volumes of the Trigun Maximum series under one cover for $20, but it feels like the story and Nightow’s abilities have taken a leap forward as well. As a result I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would and found myself really looking forward to checking out the rest of the series in this handy omnibus format.
Trigun Maximum Omnibus, Vol. 1 is available now from Darkhorse Comics.