Fire Punch Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Signature
Release Date: January 10, 2018
Price: $12.99
Creator: Tatsuki Fujimoto
Format: 208 pgs., B&W, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4215-9717-1
Age Rating: Mature
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This is one of those nominally SF manga that depends on the reader just going along for the ride. Much of the "science" in it won’t make sense, and much of the story depends on two conflicting "super powers" interacting with each other: a form of pyrokinesis that causes the target to burn until consumed, and a super-fast regeneration that keeps one target alive by regenerating as fast as it burns.  The combination creates an effect which is both implausible and creepy, but which is at the heart of the story, so a reader must just let it happen and watch the results.

Some readers won’t be able to do that, and those readers will not enjoy the story.

The basic story itself has some fairly horrific concepts at the start, like a character feeding a starving village by cutting off bits of himself and regenerating them.  That and some of the other acts of violence are probably what earn this book its Mature rating, which will be another strike against it for some readers.

For readers who get past both of those things will find a fairly horrific story about a future in which civilization has mostly collapsed, due to the cold powers of a super-being.  Other super-powered beings are keeping a small segment of humanity alive, but this is not a traditional superhero vs. supervillain battle.  There are darker concepts at work, and there may not be any good guys left by the time of this story.  There are only those willing to sacrifice themselves, and those not willing to.

The story is written well, even though it’s dark and grim.  The artwork is good, but not special, although the fire effects are visually interesting.  It just won’t be for everyone.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.