Volumes 6 through 8 of Silent Mobius is where the shit really hits the fan. For the past 5 volumes, the fight between the AMP and the Lucifer Hawk has been pretty conventional. The Lucifer Hawk launch a terror mission, AMP fights back. Starting lightly with volume 5, but more predominantly with 6-8, the Lucifer Hawks start directly taking the fight to AMP.
Volume 6 puts the Lucifer Hawk goes after Kiddy Phenil, with the person who injured her so she had to become a full cyborg conversion returning. However, the meat of this stretch is related to Katsumi Liquer – with the revelation that she is part Lucifer Hawk, and the arc ends with Katsumi being turned to the dark-side.
This does come with some unfortunate issues. Previously, the main human-ish face of the Lucifer Hawk was Rally Cheyanne’s sister, Rosa. This made for a nice dichotomy, with the visible leaders of both the heroes and villains being related, and there could have been some solid narrative potential in the long term if Kia Asamiya stuck with that.
Instead, however, this arc also introduces a new human leader for the Lucifer Hawk, Ganossa. Ganossa, in short, completely ends up sidelining Rosa, and ultimately taking her out of the story entirely. The reasons are somewhat two-fold. First off, Rosa, as mentioned earlier, has some serious narrative potential to her character. She has a direct relationship link with the leader of the AMP, giving both the opportunity for pathos, and the ability to make her a dark mirror of the protagonists. Ganossa, on the other hand, has no real narrative justification for his actions. He’s just this guy, you know?
Just as frustrating, swapping Rosa for Ganossa means we’re replacing a female character with a male one. While having an exclusively female team of protagonists squaring off against a villainous force representing masculinity certainly can have some thematic weight, that works a lot better when the male villain is brought in much earlier in the work, and is given more time to develop. Instead, Ganossa is basically being dropped in at the third act, meaning any development from here is going to be either rushed, underdeveloped, or both.
Additionally, with Katsumi’s heel turn comes a costume change to make her a “hottie of darkness” – using “hottie” as a gender neutral term (since it can and has also been used for men) for a character in a deliberately scantily clad outfit. Now, I’m not a prude – I’ve reviewed plenty of fanservice-heavy works on this blog (some favorably), and will continue to do so in the future. However, the look doesn’t work here the way that it does for Rosa, who also has a similar look.
With Rosa’s introduction, she owns the look from her reveal, and it feels like a part of her identity because of that. With Katsumi, we never generally see her wear outfits like that before now. We don’t even have a beach chapter prior to this to give an idea of the kind of swimsuit she’d be comfortable with. So the costume change to such a degree combined with the heel turn ends up being overly jarring, in a manner beyond Katsumi’s heel turn. This came up as well in the X-Men comics with Moira McTaggert’s sexy costume turn when she was under the influence of the Shadow King, and it didn’t work then either. I don’t fault doing the costume change, but I do feel there was a lack of thought to the design – especially considering it’s also so very similar to Rosa’s.
That said, the series is coming into the home stretch now, and I’m definitely going to be finishing it off – if I can just get the rest of the volumes at reasonable prices…
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