Dangerous Acquaintances

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It’s been at least a decade since I read this – probably more – but it is still a thoroughly-enjoyable read, and a major improvement in just about every way (plotting, art, pacing, imagination and characterization) over the first stab. Of particular note is the solid way in which the two separate threads of the story are woven together. While on holiday, Kei and Yuri bump into Shasti, a former colleague of theirs in the WWWA. She was actually an android, who went rogue after a criminal’s personality was implanted into her, part of a (failed) experiment to see if it would help with his capture to have her think like him. She’s now apparently leading a group of “freedom fighters” who are planning to hijack a luxurious space-liner, crammed with VIPs and new technology. Has Shasti gone all political? Or, if not, what is she up to?

She’s certainly a formidable opponent, even when outnumbered 2-to-1: she’s stronger, faster and more resilient than both Kei and Yuri, thanks to her cybernetic upgrades. However, it’s her attitude which really rubs our heroines the wrong way from the beginning, her multiple artificial personalities making her capable of kicking your ass brutally one second, then apologizing humbly for doing so, the very next. And that’s before she gets the “upgrade” to the character of an amoral, psychopathic career criminal. The body-count thereafter is large, and messy to the point that it’s a good thing this is a black-and-white comic. However, this lends a real sense of threat to proceedings, giving a sense that Kei and Yuri are themselves in danger – rather than just the local civilian population, as is usually the case.

There’s not as much reliance on the original comics – no Mughia, Lovely Angel ship or Bloody Card – with the Toren and Smith developing their own world instead. I’d really love to see this turned into a movie, and with the advent of CGI, it would no longer be prohibitively-expensive as it was when the story originally came out. It has some lovely twists, plenty of action and a great antagonist for our heroines to take on. An adaptation worthy of the name.

Story: Toren Smith and Adam Warren
Art: Adam Warren

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