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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Hellsing Vol 1. Kohta Hirano (Words & Art). Dark Horse Manga (2003)


The hugely enjoyable book manages to add something new to a vampire story which is quite a feat. The story framework is clever, the Hellsing Agency, correctly The Order of Royal Protestant Knights are vampire hunters for the United Kingdom. They are lead by members of the Hellsing family, their key agent is a vampire called Alucard who kills renegade vampires with a really big gun. Is the opening sequence of the book Alucard turns a police officer, Seras Victoria into a vampire as the only way to save her life. The rest of the book charts the very gory exploits of Alucard and Seras as the locate and exterminate other vampires.
The fantastic twist in the story become clear about half way through the book when it becomes clear that the Hellsing Agency is not just a group of vampire hunters, they are Protestant vampire hunters and they are in direct ongoing conflict with the Vatican's Catholic vampire extermination agency, the Iscariot Section XIII. The Vatican has a key agent too, Father Alexander Anderson. The meeting and subsequent fight between Alucard, Seras Victoria and Fr. Anderson is superbly done, the conclusion is very smart and unexpected too. The fact that the two groups compete with each other for religious reasons is a great element and Kotha Hirano has considerable fun with it. It gives the story a nice distinctive feel that provides considerable lift to the book.There is a nice sharp wit at work in the book, the cast are personable and lively, they move through the fast action with great momentum. The guns are huge and the gore is poured with a liberal hand and the whole is crafted into a thoroughly satisfying package.

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