Review by Frank Plowright
Comics One take a strange approach to titling the individual Wild 7 books, using a different volume title on the cover from that provided on the title page. Those inside make more sense.
Seven Wild Men Part 2 ended with the Wild 7 about to receive a carpeting from their boss, the only person in the police hierarchy able to control the bunch, who’re otherwise able to dispense the law as they see it in removing formerly untouchable criminals. Mikiya Mochizuki follows much the same path as the previous two small paperbacks, splicing the concerns of the present day with dips back into the past showing how the Wild 7 were recruited, this time engaging with former baseball player Otto. In the present he postpones the bawling out by arriving injured, blaming his condition on a group of seven riders kitted out as knights of old, their bikes firing deadly lances. It’s a story that turns the Wild 7 against their commander, the former convicts immediately alert to any possible form of betrayal from authority figures. During the discussions we learn more about the members’ specialist skills, but it’s Otto’s past that’s revealed.
Giving away that Mochizuki drew the pages a while back, 1970 in fact, is the neat precision applied to all scenes, now far from contemporary in Japanese comics. Backgrounds and motorcylces are meticulously rendered, while the cars of the era can be recognised. There’s no stinting on workload either as it’s close-ups that are restricted, most scenes viewed from distance giving a fuller picture than the figures alone prevalent in most 21st century manga. A fair portion of the story is set in snowy conditions, Mochizuki very nicely working the weather into beautiful vistas, and employing the dangers the snow causes.
Mochizuki’s plot takes some wild twists, eventually encompassing threats to TV stations, a combination of wrestling and kickboxing, and the crooked lawyer seen in previous stories. He’s a neat opponent, slimy and conniving, and always able to reference a point of law to his advantage, while having almost no moral scruples. While Mochizuki keeps the action thrilling, some readers may be frustrated that Hiba’s activities all-but reduce the remaining Wild 7 members to extras beyond the opening scenes. A scene involving the woman from the cafe where Hiba hangs out is truly bizarre, yet also unique, Mochizuki deserving some credit for dredging up that up from god knows where, and his ingenuity lasts all the way through. Another cliffhanger ending leads to Part 2, and it doesn’t look at all healthy for the Wild 7.