Gunsmith Cats: Burst sees Kenichi Sonoda return to his finest work. A sequel to the 9 volume original series, GSC:Burst returns with the full cast of the original, centering on Rally Vincent, the bounty-hunting Gunsmith and her team of female specialists (including diminutive explosives expert and sexpot "Minnie" May Hopkins).
The plot spans the first two volumes, as Rally's involvement in a straightforward bail-jumping case turns into a sinister plot involving gangs, dodgy share deals and the use of her beloved Shelby GT500 as a terrorist weapon. It's breakneck stuff, but it never goes too fast to deliver some great character moments for the leading ladies, particularly Becky Farrah, Rally's information specialist, who always seemed a little overlooked in the original.
Fans of Sonoda's other cult character, Bean Bandit, should also find much to love here, as the anti-hero transport specialist receives a lot of attention in volume 2, where a deal-gone-wrong lands him on the run from the law and on the trail of a female rival with grand aspirations of her own.
A word of warning for the sqeamish - GSC takes nudity, bloody gunfights and harsh language as a given, so heed the parental warning label on the cover, this one really isn't suitable for under 18's.
Gunsmith Cats is a series with a somewhat skewed American flavour. Taking it's cue from the likes of classic American movies such as Bullitt, it features random gunplay, muscle cars, gangsters and some seriously hardcore protagonists, all wrapped up in a distinctly Japanese art style.
Sonoda, who also designed Gall Force and BubbleGum Crisis, has a very keen eye for detail, and never spares the use of toner to give the panels as much depth as possible. His "no-shortcuts" approach makes Gunsmith Cats one of the most polished manga ever to hit the shelves, and subsequently every page could be framed and placed on a wall, it's just THAT good.
Of course, sublime visuals wouldn't paper over a weak story for long, so luckily for us Sonoda has invested just as much time into the stories and character development as his artwork. Fans of Grand Theft Auto or Tarentino movies should lap this up - it's dirty, dangerous and enormous fun!