Cyborg 009 awakes restrained to a pallet that is half hospital bed and half factory conveyor. He only has traces of memory left to guide him as he tears free of the restraints and discovers that he is part of a weapon demo in which he is both unwilling participant and unwilling weapon. As he is ordered to execute his progenitors, Cyborgs 001-008, all nine of them reject their programming, overpower their creators, and escape. One of the scientists, Dr. Gilmore, is taken as a hostage, but is soon revealed as an accomplice to their getaway. The remainder of the narrative follows their ongoing struggle with the Black Ghost Organization and the purportedly superior cyborgs that are created to succeed them. In the B arc, the titular character learns that his name once was Joe, that he has unfinished business in that life, and that he has matters of the heart to resolve in both of his lives.

Cyborg 009 is a relatively big franchise in Japan, with three big screen incarnations starting with the 1966 Toei movie, and three TV shows. Its creator, Shotaro Ishinomori, is one of the greats of Japanese manga; he even drew more stories, though not more pages (128,000), than the “god of manga“(150,000). In 2012, comiXology obtained the rights to the Ishinmori catalog of stories, and Archaia announced their own coming graphic novel interpretation of the classic manga series as well. The result is a lush volume that follows and one-ups the Archaia formula for artisan quality graphic novels, with a quadripartite cover image composed of mylar dust jacket, interior cellophane sheets, and hardback cover art unveiling progressive diagrams of hero 009 and villain Sekar. After the last chapter, there are essays about the characters and biographical information on the creators, not only Ishinomori but also re-imaginers F.J. Desanto, Bradley Cramp, Marcus To, and Ian Herring.

Not only does the book show fine craft, sure to intrigue bibliophiles, but Cyborg 009 is a highly recommended read as well, guaranteed to fascinate panelologists. Add this to your pull list immediately, or you can preorder it on Amazon before its September 24th release. A zero issue and the first two chapters are available digitally on comiXology, and a preview is available on the Archaia website.

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