1989: Dominion

Dominion (1989) #1-6 by Masamune Shirow et al.

Eclipse and Studio Proteus continue with their translations of Masamune Shirow’s comics while waiting for him to complete his Appleseed series.

This is Shirow at his funniest, I think? While he always has a sense of humour, I guess, this is very silly, and I like it a lot. The story starts in the middle of the action, and we’re introduced to the (pretty small) cast of characters while they’re shooting at each other. Shirow’s pretty good at this: It doesn’t take many pages before we know these characters pretty well. It doesn’t hurt that Shirow leans pretty heavily on cop show cliches, either: It’s the normal mix of characteristics.

So it isn’t until page sixteen that Shirow explains what this is all about, and then he does it in the most expedient way possibly, by having two of the characters as-you-know-Bob each other.

We also get the requisite lesson about the Earth and the fragile ecosystem and stuff. The story takes place in a kinda generic post-apocalypticish world where the air is… bad or something.

But the main point of this book is the deranged action, complete with a mad villain. “Nyahaha haha!” That’s a good villain laugh, isn’t it?

Shirow comments on the over-the-top action (and about how nobody seems to get hurt seriously by it) in the comic itself.

In the third issue, they start putting in a recap, which I guess… makes sense? But reading it would take longer than just reading the original comics (these are pretty breezy reads), so…

Shirow contributes some pages of context for the book, and doesn’t really want a tank police in the real world.

*sigh* This is fortunately the only gay joke in the series.

Geez. A writer complains about the book being hard to understand. I don’t get that at all: Shirow’s storytelling is extremely clear, and his character design is wonderful: You can tell all the characters apart immediately (which is often not the case in Japanese comics for kids).

Suddenly! Two pages done with this shading technique? Were these pages originally in colour, perhaps? Japanese comics frequently have a couple of pages in colour at the start of the chapter, and that would explain why this looks so weird…

The book ends rather abruptly. Shirow did a sequel in the 90s, but there’s apparently no direct connection to the story here.

The series has been collected and published by Dark Horse through several editions, according to Amazon.

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