Manu – Comic Book Review
Story & Art: Gustaffo Vargas
Publisher: Tacu Tinta Media
Following on from the events of L1ma and Trujilø, Manu takes us deep into the rainforests of South America and high up onto the peaks of the Peruvian highlands with Canela and Sonia. It seems, however, we aren;t the only ones following them…
In the jungle, the mighty jungle…
Canela and Sonia are trying to forget about life as they know it, with Rodolfo and Bigote in tow (who are gorgeous, modern takes on cybernetically enhanced animals, and cute to boot). Soon however, an elite force of the sica-pokantis show up ready to wreak havoc…
We soon discover that Canela’s past is coming back to haunt her, and hunt her, with a vengeance. This plot seems to reach higher up than anyone could have imagined, so now it is up to our fearless ladies to get to the bottom it it all.
With colours as vibrant and dynamic as the world we are plunged into, there is no doubt that Manu has come from the heart of South America. Bold blacks and line work contrast with gutters painted like a sunset, making Manu a joy to bask in.
Something I particularly admire and enjoy about all of Gustaffo’s work is the pride in his heritage. In Manu, we are treated to pages written in Aymara (the language native to the Andean Aymara population). In this inclusion, we are not made to feel left out. Instead, we are invited in, with open arms, to another culture. The use of Aymara here and Spanish there is personal, special, and important. Of course, we can refer to the translations, but we can also read along and feel even more part of this story than we ever could without this beautiful inclusion. Muchísimas gracias, Gustaffo.
Manu is a triumph in cyber-punk done right. We have natural inclusivity, representation, gang warfare, and cyborg jaguars…c’mon, what more could you want? No wonder it was one of the hottest picks of last year.