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Volume 3

 

Review by Chris Guanche

March 11, 2007

 

Summary

 

Tests continue on ZAFT's Second Stage Gundams, and thanks to the new G-Flight Striker pack, Jess is able to keep up with the speed of Shinn's Impulse Gundam. Three days earlier, Yoon became lost while wandering around Armory One. At the base, Jess told Kaite that 8 ordered new equipment for the Out Frame. Kaite asked what the point of that was, and Jess said that the new equipment would help him take better photographs. Jess and Kaite heard singing coming out of the back home, and when they rushed over to it they found Setona preparing dinner. Kaite asked Setona how she got into a military base, and once again she answered that she woke up there. Yoon joined them for dinner and explained to Jess that she came with Out Frame's new equipment. Using the speed of the G-Flight, Jess films the Gundams during a mock battle. After the battle ends, Bernadette comments that the four Gundams perform better than she expected. Nearby, three mysterious mobile suits watch from atop an asteroid.

 

Later, Jess and Kaite attend a formal party at Armory One. Bernadette explains that the Minerva will soon be unveiled to the public, as well as new model mobile suits. Just then, a ceremony begins on stage to announce the official pilots of the Gundams. As expected, Shinn is introduced the pilot of the Impulse Gundam, but surprisingly Mare is made the pilot of the Abyss Gundam. A beautiful woman says hello to Jess, but he doesn't notice that she's actually Yoon. Elsewhere, Matis looks at classified information about three of the Second Stage Gundams. Back at Armory One, Mare grumbles about Shinn having the privilege of already being stationed on the Minerva. He vows to himself that one day he'll become the pilot of the Impulse Gundam. Just then, Alliance Extended soldiers Sting Oakley, Auel Neider and Stella Loussier run in and open fire on ZAFT personnel. Mare is shot by Stella and thinks to himself that it's no wonder why he hates Naturals. The hangar explodes, and Kaite tells Jess that the enemy has come. He suggests getting to their suits, but Jess says that Setona hasn't returned from shopping yet. Kaite says they can't look for her, and he tells Jess to do his job as a journalist. Jess then launches in the Out Frame G-Flight, followed by Kaite's GINN Assault Type. As the battle widens, Jess captures it on film from the air. Jess thinks to himself about the battle and wonders if someone wanted it to happen. Bernadette calls Jess and tells him and Kaite to evacuate to the Junk Guild ship outside the PLANT. After reaching space, Jess notices that the battle has moved outside of Armory One. Jess notices something strange in the distance, and Yoon tells him she's picked up something on her Mirage Colloid detector. Kaite opens fire, and an N Dagger N decloaks and attacks him. Another N Dagger N decloaks in front of Jess, but Courtney arrives in the Proto Chaos and tells Jess to stand aside. Courtney then deploys his weapon pods and attacks the N Dagger N. Jess asks Riika what's going on when she arrives in a Blaze ZAKU Phantom, and she tells him that Shinn and the Minerva are pursuing the enemy. Jess asks about Mare, and Riika explains that he was critically wounded and rushed to the hospital. Riika asks Jess to come with her, but he pulls away and tells 8 that he has a bad feeling, as though he's being watched by someone. Nothing appears on the monitor, so Jess puts on his helmet and opens the cockpit hatch. When he exits the cockpit, he's shocked to find the Testament Gundam floating in front of the Out Frame. He manages to snap a picture of the Testament Gundam before it flies away. Kaite and Courtney return after both N Dagger Ns vanished. Kaite reviews the photos on his camera and looks at the Testament Gundam.

 

The Junk Guild ship transports Jess, Kaite and Yoon to GENESIS Alpha. After boarding, Jess is surprised to see Liam there. Liam takes them to the administration center to give them an update on the Armory One situation. Liam mentions that Jess' trip was approved by the PLANT Council because he was acting at a Junk Guild inspector, and Kaite tells Jess that without his pass, he would've been left behind at Armory One. Jess then wonders if Matias prepared that pass for him because he expected something to happen. Yoon wonders if another war will start, but Kaite says it doesn't matter because those who want to fight will fight, and those who want to run will run. At the administration center, the Professor tells them that the Minerva is still in pursuit of the enemy, but more importantly, ZAFT is reporting that Junius Seven is moving. Jess wonders how it could move if the Junk Guild placed it in a stable orbit, and the Professor says that she sent Portia's team to investigate. The Professor then tells Jess that a rogue Nazca class ship is approaching and isn't broadcasting ZAFT identification signals. Jess says that he's interviewed those people before and that they split off from ZAFT because they don't agree with the PLANT Council's policies. Liam thinks to himself that if the rogue force captures GENESIS Alpha they can use it as a weapon of mass destruction. Elsewhere, Matis comments that the radicals have taken the bait and will soon capture GENESIS Alpha because it isn't strongly defended. Several GINN High Maneuver Type II units launch from the Nazca, and the Junk Guild deploys armed Raystas to defend GENESIS Alpha. Kaite joins the battle in his GINN Assault Type and tells Jess to stay back. A GINN HM attacks Jess, but Jess manages to hold it off with Out Frame's manipulator arms. The GINN pilot tells Jess to surrender GENESIS Alpha because they were responsible for moving Junius Seven and need GENESIS Alpha to destroy Earth. Jess says he won't let them succeed and blasts the GINN in the head with his gun camera. With their numerical disadvantage, the Professor wonders if they should use GENESIS, but Liam reminds her that it's against the Junius Treaty. Suddenly, several mobile suits enter the battlefield. When Jess sees the Sword Calamity, Raider Full Spec and M1A Astray, he wonders if Edward is there. The Nazca suddenly explodes, and Rondo Mina Sahaku's Gundam Astray Gold Frame Amatu decloaks. Rondo introduces herself and says she wants to speak with the Junk Guild representative. Back on the station, the Professor tells Jess that ZAFT has sent a squadron to stop Junius Seven's descent toward Earth. Joined by her Socius clones, Rondo meets with Liam and tells him that the Junk Guild will soon be destroyed. Later, Jess uses his gun camera to locate Junius Seven while GENESIS Alpha moves into firing position. Jess decides to go into space and confirm things with his own eyes. Jess then realizes that the data is wrong and that GENESIS Alpha will hit Earth, not Junius Seven. Jess speeds over to tell Kaite not to fire, and he hears his own voice on the radio telling Kaite to fire. As Jess hurries back, he's grappled from behind by the Divine Testament Gundam. The Testament Gundam's masked pilot tells Jess that the truth will never be revealed.

 

The countdown reaches Zero, but Kaite doesn't fire GENESIS. Yoon asks what's wrong, and Kaite says that Jess always calls him by his first name, not Madigan. The Professor runs a check and finds that the computer has been infected with a virus. The Professor sees that the virus controls quantum computers. Kaite tries to launch in his GINN, but it's been infected by the virus too via the maintenance system. Kaite then floats over to the Gold Frame Amatu, and Rondo asks him what he's doing. He asks her for permission to use the suit to save Jess. Rondo tells Kaite he's a good man worthy of using the Amatu. The Socius clones ask if they can also help Jess, but Rondo tells them that Kaite's pride would be damaged if they went too. In space, Jess opens the cockpit to film the Testament Gundam, but the Testament Gundam fires its virus spreader and infects the Out Frame. On the station, the Professor explains to Yoon that the virus spreads through Mirage Colloid and was originally made to take control of Red and Blue Frame. The Testament Gundam closes in to attack Out Frame, but it's suddenly attacked from behind by the Gold Frame Amatu. As Kaite attacks, the Testament Gundam changes color and he realizes it has Variable Phase Shift. The Testament Gundam then deploys its attack claw and grapples onto the Gold Frame Amatu. The Testament Gundam fires its pistols at Kaite, and Jess moves in with his beam saber to help Kaite. The Testament Gundam attacks with its Trikeros Kai, damaging the Out Frame and ejecting Jess into space. Suddenly, a positron cannon fires from a distance, and the Testament Gundam retreats. The blast came from the Re.H.O.M.E., just returned from Mars.

 

Kaite hauls the crippled Out Frame back to GENESIS Alpha and takes injured Jess out of the cockpit to examine him. On Earth, Matias looks at a picture of his little sister Matis and vows to see her end with his own eyes. Jess is ok and is surprised to see Lowe. He apologizes for trashing the Out Frame, but Lowe says the important thing is that Jess is safe. Lowe says he'll have to fix Out Frame, and Jess asks him for a favor before being rushed away to the infirmary. The Testament Gundam lands inside an Alliance space station, and a soldier tells pilot 0984 that Matis wants to see him. Suddenly, 0984 goes berserk and attacks the soldier, demanding to know who can give him orders. Several other soldiers rush in and shoot 0984 with a tranquilizer gun. In her office, Matis decides that GENESIS Alpha is becoming an eyesore, so she orders that 0984 launch and destroy it. Back at GENESIS Alpha, Liam explains to Lowe that ZAFT is going after Junius Seven, although it's impossible to stop its descent now. Kaite is surprised that the Re.H.O.M.E. has a Lohengrin positron cannon, and Lowe explains that he studied one while repairing an Alliance battleship. Setona comes in to tell Lowe his food is ready, and Kaite asks why she's there. Lowe explains that they picked up her capsule earlier while on their way back from Mars. Kisato calls Lowe and tells him to come back because only she and George are working on the Out Frame. On the Ortygia Kai, Canard briefly sees a vision of Prayer and tells Meriol to change course for GENESIS Alpha. As Lowe repairs the Out Frame, he explains to Kaite that he's returning it to its original form, making it look very similar to the Testament Gundam. Lowe says that Jess is searching for the truth and is fighting an enemy that distorts truth. Jess says he wants to fight, but Kaite tells him he doesn't have the combat skills. Lowe interrupts and says he might be able to make it so that they can both fight. Later, Lowe announces the completion of the repaired and upgraded Out Frame D. Among other modifications, Lowe installed a second cockpit in the head so that Jess can take pictures while Kaite fights.

 

Kaite asks what the differences are between the Out Frame D and the Testament Gundam, and Lowe explains that the Testament Gundam has VPS armor, but the Out Frame D uses foam metal armor. He says that the metal foam isn't as strong, but the decreased weight makes the Out Frame D faster. In addition, the Testament Gundam uses a nuclear reactor, but the Out Frame D uses a regular battery. Jess steps in and says that the Testament Gundam also distorts truth, and that's its greatest power. Lowe says that between Kaite, Jess and 8, they'll be able to make sure that the Out Frame D doesn't get infected with a virus again. Kisato asks what the D stands for, and Lowe says Duel, but Kaite points out that the Alliance already has that name. He then says Destiny, but Jess says that name is connected to the Impulse Gundam. Setona then suggests Double and Dash, and Lowe claims the D has multiple meanings. Lowe and Kisato then depart to see if they can help with Junius Seven. Kaite wonders what strategy they can use against the Testament Gundam, and Jess says he has an idea involving melee weapons. Elsewhere, Prayer appears before Kazahana and tells her he needs her help because Jess is in a dangerous situation. As the Alliance forces approach, Jess and Kaite launch in the Sword Out Frame D. Kazahana calls them and tells them that help has arrived. Canard arrives with the Dreadnought H to take care of the cannon fodder. Kazahana directs the battle plan and is worried about Gai and Elijah's batteries, but the Professor has an idea. As Alliance mobile suits close in, they're blasted by Gai's Blue Frame 2nd L, which is docked with a METEOR support unit. Elijah's ZAKU is also docked with a METEOR, and he uses it to destroy an Agamemnon. Canard destroys several mobile suits, and Kaite sees several images of the Testament Gundam approaching. Using Jess as his eyes, Kaite fires his beam rifle at the Testament Gundam and dodges its attacks. Kaite then drops the beam rifle and pulls out the anti-ship sword and beam saber. Jess tells Kaite where the Testament Gundam is coming from, and Kaite stabs it between the cockpit hatch because that's Edward's style. Jess then calls the Testament Gundam and asks 0984 why he attacked. In response, 0984 removes his mask and reveals that he's Ash Gray, former pilot of ZAFT's Regenerate Gundam. Ash has visions of Matis and says he wants revenge on the woman who used him. Jess asks who 'that woman' is, but Ash opens the cockpit and ejects himself into space with no helmet. At the same time, the Testament Gundam transmits the virus at GENESIS Alpha and causes it to fire at the secret Alliance base. However, Matis has already evacuated from there. But since the attack by the Junk Guild on an Alliance base was recorded, Matis plans to use it and Junius Seven to shake the world. Matis then pulls out playing cards with people's faces on them and singles out the cards of two people she wants to eliminate: Lowe and Edward.

 

Commentary

 

The third volume brings us to the start of the DESTINY TV series and goes all the way up to the beginning of the Break the World incident with Junius Seven. Strangely, although Shinn appears in volumes 2-3, he has just about zero dialogue. I could understand silent cameos in an anime, but it doesn't make much sense in a manga. Speaking of cameos, this volume also features brief appearances by the Extended pilots, as well as the ZAKU Athrun Zala uses during the Armory One attack. Canard also returns, as do Gai, Lowe and even Rondo. We see that the thefts at Armory One and the Junius Seven incident are pretty closely related. Matis' plan seems to involve manipulating the ZAFT separatists into their actions, as well as frame the Junk Guild and destroy it. She fails the first time because GENESIS Alpha doesn't fire at Earth, but the firing at an Alliance base doesn't look good. The Testament Gundam is revealed, and we learn some secrets about Out Frame: it was just a reserve unit for spare parts. In addition, the Testament Gundam's pilot is revealed to be none other than Ash Gray from ASTRAY R. Lowe had sent the Regenerate Gundam into Alliance territory at the end of that series, so obviously the Alliance captured Ash and brainwashed him in the same way it turned Mu La Flaga into Neo Roanoke. Although the Testament Gundam and Ash have been defeated, there's still a lot on the horizon with the looming war that will ignite after the fall of Junius Seven.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

4 out of 5 stars
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