Madefire’s Treatment Tokyo, written by Robbie Morrison and drawn by Kinman Chan, sets up another branch of Dave Gibbons’ franchise with slick action.
Treatment Tokyo has a different identity than its Mexico City counterpart by using more subtlety and suspense in working up the plot. They also use one Treatment agent to carry out justice – a person known as the Kaidan the Ghost.
The Ghost is reminiscent of the man with no name in the Spaghetti Western’s made famous by Clint Eastwood. Ruthless and unstoppable, the Ghost brings justice to the Yakuza underworld in the first episode of Treatment Tokyo.
Episode 2 opens with a violent execution of a businessman by a Bosozuku (a Yakuza motorcycle gang member), which sets up the action. Morrison shows the arrogance or hubris at work with the Tokyo underworld by displaying the brazenness of the Bosozuku in committing their crimes. He also makes the Japanese society bigger spectators in the Treatment Tokyo episodes, making it the TV spectacle that Dave Gibbons alluded to in his San Diego episode.
Much like the first episode where hubris is the main character flaw, Morrison uses the Ghost as the perfect counterbalance to arrogance in the cool, efficient way justice is dispensed. With the Bosozuku riding the streets of the Ginza district with impunity, the plot picks up when the Ghost arrives on the scene with motorcycles squealing down the streets.
This plays better than any of the Fast and the Furious movies with the ruthless determination of the Ghost’s pursuit of the Bosozuku and their fear as they realize fate is catching up literally one rev of the engine at a time. The story is left on a cliffhanger as the fate of the Bosozuku is up in the air with the Ghost ready to provide “treatment”.
Artist Kinman Chan provides one of the most unique approaches to visual storytelling with his layered panels and cinematic flow where each movement of action is seamless like a video game. His use of color really captures the big city Tokyo most people know with lots of neons, flat colors, and bright lights.
The characters fit the Treatment Tokyo aesthetic well with an almost anime like feel that works that boundary between comic book and animation. It’s impressive in style and storytelling while providing the reader a sense of scale and atmosphere.
Overall, Morrison and Chan have a firm grip on Treatment Tokyo. The storytelling and artwork are compelling and dynamic with plenty of on the edge of your seat action to make this another winner in Madefire’s stable of great titles.