Heavy handed social commentary aside, Tokyo Ghost is still a damn good comic. It’s crazy to think that in only seven short issues Remender and Murphy have achieved so much, and with the start of a new arc, a whole new story unfolds. The tragic love story between Led Dent and Debbie Decay continues, only, this time, it’s even more depressing. This time around there is no hope of escape or redemption, only revenge, and shit gets brutal. When I first started reading Tokyo Ghost I saw the connection between Remender’s dystopia and Warren Ellis’ Transmetropolitan. Both comics use a dystopian future to mock the present, depicting an entertainment crazed populace that has very few brain cells left. Transmetropolitan decidedly takes the high road and touches a little on politics and philosophy, while Tokyo Ghost takes us on a much more bloody path. The first arc showed us the undying love that Debbie had for Dent, her media addicted boyfriend. Through that devotion the two of them were able to escape the techno-crazed L.A. and reach the peaceful tech-free Tokyo. Japan’s tech free stance had allowed them to maintain a peaceful existence outside of the influence from the rest of the world. I have to say in the Tokyo issues, Murphy’s art was beyond gorgeous, perfectly contrasting the harsh, rotten world of L.A. with the tranquil beauty of Tokyo. The peace couldn’t last and in a desperate act Dent relapsed to his tech drugs, went ballistic, and killed every single person living in Japan by detonating a bomb.
This aftermath is where Remender leaves us, with Dent resuming his place as a bodyguard for Mr. Flak (the corporate king of L.A.) with Davey Trauma as Flak’s advisor. Tokyo is now a giant theme park for the rich, and Flak and the .01% of society are going to live there and let L.A. die. This is when Debbie (who is somehow still alive) rejoins the picture. She has the katana that was gifted to her by the leader of Tokyo that acts as an EMP, shutting down all electronics around it. And.. here it is, the name drop of the title, she has become the… Tokyo Ghost! Ok, so yeah, it’s kind of a lame way to bring the name in, especially in the second arc, but whatever. At this point, the social commentary has become secondary to the plot and it’s mainly based on action and violence (not that it wasn’t before). The puns and jabs at tech culture today fade into the background, they’re beginning to feel stale, but the heart is still there. At the end of the day, this is still a sad love story about a woman trying to break someone she loves away from addiction.
After the end of the last arc I kind of thought that Debbie would inevitably end up killing Dent, and now it seems that that’s the only option. How many times can he relapse, kill thousands of people, and just have her forgive him? It really seems there is only one recourse, and that is death. Tokyo Ghost #5 was soul-crushing, watching the beautiful, peaceful Tokyo get ripped to shreds was both infuriating and tragic. And worst of all, we got to watch one of our protagonists do all of the killing, someone who we had spent issues watching heal and change for the better.
Now with the last peaceful, beautiful place (thank you Sean Murphy) on Earth destroyed and turned into another wasteland of corporate greed what is left? Debbie returning with the EMP Katana to kill every one of those bastards. All of a sudden this is Kill Bill in the future, and bloodshed is the only answer. Honestly, I’m okay with that. At this point I kind of hate every character except Debbie for what they did, but also what they didn’t do. Part of what makes this comic so sad is the apathy and complacency that these people have. They don’t care what happens because they are numb to it, especially Led Dent, and that’s what makes it so hard to watch. Debbie was the only one who ever cared enough to try to change her world and now there’s nothing left but death and destruction for all.
[su_box title="Score: 3/5" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]