Gangsta. Vol. 1 by Kohske (a J!-ENT Manga Review)
February 23, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Gangsta.” is an action-packed series about mysterious two assassins for hire in a crime-filled land and a former prostitute who starts working for them. An intriguing and rare manga series to come from Japan, if you are looking for a manga series with a little sex and violence, “Gangsta.” by Kohske is a manga series worth recommending!
Image courtesy of © GANGSTA. Kohske 2011. All Rights Reserved.
MANGA TITLE: Gangsta. Vol. 1
STORY AND ART BY: Kohske
FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: Shinchosha Publishing Co.
PUBLISHED IN USA BY: Viz Signature
RATED: M for Mature
Available on February 18, 2014
In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Enter the “Handymen,” Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. Until the day when a cop they know on the force requests their help in taking down a new gang muscling in on the territory of a top Mafia family. It seems like business (and mayhem) as usual, but the Handymen are about to find that this job is a lot more than they bargained for.
In the city of Ergastulum, the area is full of thieves, whores and murderers. And as for the police, they are corrupted and chaos is king.
This is the setting for the manga series known as “Gangsta.”, written and illustrated by female mangaka Kohske.
Debuting in 2009 with the short story “Postman” for Shonen GanGan Magazine, “Gangsta” has been running in “Monthly Comic Bunch” in 2011 and a total of five tankobon volumes have been published in Japan.
And now the manga series was released in Feb. 2014 in the U.S. as part of Viz Media’s “Viz Signature” line.
“Gangsta.” begins with a prostitute being assaulted outside a building. Meanwhile, inside a building are two owners of the business known as “Handymen”, Nic and Worick, two men paid to take on assassination or difficult jobs that police or big business can’t handle.
As Nic and Worick are completing a job with the elder businesswoman inside the building, they see the beaten prostitute going inside the building.
The Handymen are then called for business with the police department and are sent to go after a gang leader named Barry Abbot (the man seen beating on the prostitute in the opening pages). Both Nick and Worick are hired by the inspector to eliminate him and his gang (including his prostitutes) as they are doing business in the restricted zone. They work out a deal that they can take whatever they can in return for killing them.
As Nic and Worick go after the gang and eliminated everyone including the gang leader known as Barry. They run into the prostitute and give her the opportunity to escape. But instead, the prostitute named Alex comes back and instead of killing her, they decide to take her (as in agreement with the inspector) and make her as part of the Handymen as one of their employees.
Meanwhile, as Alex continues to work for the Handymen, she tries to figure both Nic and Worick out. Is Nic an ex-mercenary, does he talk at all? Why does Worick wear an eyepatch?
One day, Alex sees a newspaper article about a massacre of the Arcangelo family 20-years-ago, all were killed except a 13-year-old boy who was 13 at the time. And the perpretator, said to be a boy hired as a mercenary by the family. And Alex begins to wonder, can the two boys be Worick and Nic? Is Worick the missing boy that was never found?
But as Alex starts to wonder about the two men that she is working for, the Handymen get involved in major trouble as they must take on a gang that is threatening Dr. Theo and his assistant, Nina.
Can the Handymen protect the two from the thugs?
With the release of “Gangsta.”, we get to see somewhat of a western influence in this manga series by Kohske.
Reminiscent of Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, where the world has gone corrupt and in the city of Ergastulum, a city overrun by thugs, gangs, mafia, whores and murderers, the police are just as bad and when the going gets tough, the only way for the police to maintain order is by hiring mercenaries, in this case, the Handymen, Nic and Worick.
Nic is the silent, deadly killer with a sword. Worick is the playboy with an eyepatch that is good with a gun and together, they are two men who aren’t afraid of taking on the most corrupt people in Ergastulum. And it’s not a duty done for the sake of morality but to them, it’s money and survival.
As these two men are mysterious individuals and through the eyes of former prostitute Alex, who joins the Handymen as their personal secretary or whatever she can be used for in order to get the job done, even Alex, has her thoughts on both men and their mysterious background.
And through volume one of “Gangsta.”, we get to see how corrupt this world they live in but how they fit in to all the chaos. There is no one that is pure in Ergastulum, everything is corrupt, but there is a sense of kindness for some people and with the Handymen, while killing is their job, the act of kindness of having Alex as an employee is rather fascinating.
As for the manga, Kohske has developed a intriguing series full of sex and violence but also an illustration style that is unique to her style of work. The manga is different from your standard yakuza storyline or your assassins for hire manga series. There is a western influence and it will be interesting to see how the story of “Gangsta.” will continue to grow overtime.
Overall, “Gangsta.” is an action-packed series about mysterious two assassins for hire in a crime-filled land and a former prostitute who starts working for them. An intriguing and rare manga series to come from Japan, if you are looking for a manga series with a little sex and violence, “Gangsta.” by Kohske is a manga series worth recommending!
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