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Volume 2

 

Review by Chris Guanche

April 24, 2020

 

Summary

 

Tobia and Kincade make a run for it after being spotted by a Jovian Security Mobile Suit. The mobile suit opens fire on them and misses, but hits civilians in the process. They duck into a narrow corner and hear a TV broadcast announcing that the 12 pilots rescued from the Crossbone Vanguard will be executed for abandoning the precious mobile suits given to them by Dogatie. Enraged, Tobia comes out of the hiding spot and narrowly misses being spotted by a Security suit. Masked Karas tells an officer that the best way to find the intruders is to shut down the base’s computer network, but his request is denied. Karas warns that one of the consequences could be the intruders learning Dogatie’s location, and the officer blames Barnes for everything and tells him to find the intruders. Kincade tries to access the computer network and asks Tobia to help him. Tobia laments that their struggle is pointless now since the pilots get executed, but Kincade thinks it could raise suspicions among the civilians and inspire some to take action. Tobia knows that a cruel fate awaits any who oppose Dogatie and angrily asks Kincade if he helped the pilots to take advantage of their deaths. Kincade answers that Berah never thought that way, and though some of them suspected the truth, they didn’t tell her. Kincade explains that a decade ago, Berah was a normal high school girl until Cosmo Babylonia happened, and if not for that, she might be living a normal life now. She knows what it means to have sacrificed many people for the few and fought against Cosmo Babylonia’s aristocracy. Kincade explains that she cried in happiness when Cosmo Babylonia collapsed, and when she learned about the existence of the Jupiter Empire, she could’ve left it to the Earth Federation to deal with, but she chose to act. Kincade states that he decided to help Berah and protect her no matter what happens. Tobia says he isn’t fully convinced yet, but he can’t stand by after hearing all that and steps up to help access the computer. After copying the computer data, they hop onto the outside of a transport to hitch a ride to a mobile suit hangar, but Tobia is caught in wires deployed by Karas. Kincade tosses a knife in response, but it only hits Karas’ mask. When the mask falls off, Tobia and Kincade are shocked to see that Karas is still alive. Tobia asks how he’s alive, and Karas explains that he used the same wire launcher on his wrist to save himself when he was sucked out of the Smashion. Tobia head butts Karas to break free, and Kincade then punches him. Karas knocks Kincade down and pushes Tobia aside, but he’s shocked to see the necklace Tobia is wearing and asks how he got it. Kincade kicks Karas off the transport, but Karas tosses a grenade at them and then swings to safety with his wire. After escaping, Kincade tells Tobia that he’s fought Karas a couple of times before. The girl who Tobia gave water to approaches them, along with her mother, and they show Tobia and Kincade a secret passage to escape through. Kincade asks about the woman’s husband, and she explains that he’s doing better and thanks them for the water. As Tobia and Kincade put on normal suits, the woman tells them that not everyone on Jupiter agrees with the Empire. On the Mother Vanguard, Berah is informed that they haven’t had any contact in the seven hours since the operation started. She hopes they’ll return safely and is informed about an explosion at the base. The Mother Vanguard takes off and launches Umon in the Crossbone X1 and Zabine in the Crossbone X2. Kincade and Tobia escape in a stolen Batalla and are pursued by Barnes, who says he can’t believe a kid like Tobia is a spy for the Crossbones. Barnes admires his courage but vows not to let him escape, and he pulls out his beam saber to attack them.

 

Kincade draws his beam saber and blocks Barnes’ attack. Barnes sees that Kincade is a skilled pilot, but he wonders how long he can last in a suit he isn’t familiar with. Tobia tries to plead with Barnes that he doesn’t want to fight him and asks why he’s helping a dictator like Dogatie. Barnes responds that he doesn’t care if Dogatie is a dictator and says no one would fight just for the sake of it, so a just cause is necessary for war. Barnes explains that none of the things humans need to survive exist at Jupiter, and that his son was killed in an accident at an oxygen production plant. He says no one on Earth understands their struggle to survive on a daily basis, and they’re almost at their limit. Other Batallas catch up to join the attack, and Barnes tells Tobia that they have to take what they need if they want to survive. Zabine arrives and destroys one of the Batallas with his shot lancer, and Umon slices into another with his beam saber. Kincade takes the beam saber from Umon and damages Barnes’ Batalla before escaping. Barnes yells at Tobia that the only way to avoid tragedies like the accident that killed his son is for Jovians to invade Earth. After returning to the Mother Vanguard, Kincade hugs Berah while Tobia goes off with Bernadette. The Little Gray rendezvous with the Mother Vanguard, and Capt. Ommo calls Berah to tell her they’ve brought supplies. After examining the Jovian data, Berah briefs the assembled crew and explains that they are 92 percent certain that Dogatie is on the moon Io. Berah declares that they can’t hesitate now and will carry out their final mission to take down Dogatie. As pilots prepare for launch, Berah goes to the kitchen and asks the chef if she can bake some bread. Kincade complains to Ommo about a lack of mobile suit parts in her supply delivery, and she explains that there haven’t been any recent conflicts in the Earth Sphere, and it’s hard to get parts for a 10-year-old suit like the Zondo-Gei. She points out they can also make use of their captured Jovian units, but Umon doesn’t want to use them. Bernadette visits Tobia, and he returns the necklace to her. She explains that it’s a memento of her mother, who was born on Earth and often told stories about what life was like there. Because of those stories, Bernadette has always dreamed of visiting Earth. Tobia recalls what Karas said about the necklace and then thinks that Barnes’ statement isn’t without merit due to how far Jupiter is from Earth. Kincade brings Tobia food and tells him to report to Berah on the bridge after eating. Tobia wonders why the bread is so good, and Kincade explains that Berah made it because her family owned a bakery in high school, and now she bakes when stressed to relax. Tobia is surprised and says he might’ve misjudged her. He then asks Kincade if Berah is his lover, but Kincade declines to answer. On the bridge, Berah tells Tobia and Bernadette that they should return to Earth on the Little Gray, but Tobia states that he’s too involved in this now and wants to see it through to the end. Bernadette decides to go to Earth, and Tobia says he’ll look for her when everything is over. He then thinks about what Barnes said and wonders if everything will end well.

 

On the Little Gray, Ommo brings Bernadette some food since she hasn’t left her cabin since boarding, but she’s shocked to find the room empty. A crewman wonders where she could be, but Ommo knows that she must’ve sneaked back onto the Mother Vanguard while the ships were still docked. Elsewhere, the Mother Vanguard deploys a beam shield for atmospheric reentry on Io. Sitting in a Pez Batalla cockpit, Tobia thinks about Barnes’ words and how he lost his own parents, who were colony developers, in an accident. He can’t accept the idea that war between Earth and Jupiter is inevitable. The Jovian base unleashes a barrage of missiles, but the Mother Vanguard stays its course. Their sensors pick up eight Battleships hovering over the base, with an estimated force of 280 mobile suits. The Jovians deploy multiple Elevado mobile suits and Cangrejo mobile armors. Due to the lack of spare parts, the Zondo-Geis are launched on autopilot to serve as decoys. Elsewhere, the real attack force launches, consisting of Kincade’s Crossbone X1, Zabine’s Crossbone X2, Tobia’s Pez Batalla and four Batallas piloted by Umon, Yona, Jared and Harida. Zabine notes that they’re outnumbered by 40-to-1, and Kincade says they need to take advantage of the Mother Vanguard using itself as a decoy. Several Vagons attack, but Kincade destroys one of them. The Vagons deploy large wheels for ground attack, and Yona is forced to eject from her damaged Batalla. A Vagon rushes toward her, but Tobia hurls a large boulder at it. Kincade and Zabine are surrounded by Vagons and each destroy multiple units, while Tobia rescues Yona and brings her into his cockpit. Lava erupts from the ground, and the mobile armor Elefante emerges and opens fire with its bits. Kincade warns everyone to scatter to avoid the bits.

 

As the team is confronted by the Elefante, more Vagons approach from the rear as reinforcements. However, the Elefante maintains its attack and ends up hitting allies as well. Its pilot thinks that if his allies are too weak to dodge his attacks, the Jupiter Empire doesn’t need them. Kincade asks Umon if he can predict the pattern of the bits, and Umon responds that he can’t, but can see that the enemy pilot is a talented Newtype. Kincade orders everyone else to attack the Elefante’s main body while he and Umon take down the bits. However, their attacks are blocked by an I-field, and the Elefante uses its flexible nose cannon to grab and crush Harida’s Batalla. It then fires its cannon at the Crossbone X2, destroying its left leg. Kincade and Umon have trouble dodging the bits, but Tobia sees the pattern and starts destroying them. He then charges toward the Elefante and uses his large beam ax to damage it at close range. The flexible cannon then targets Tobia, but Kincade rushes in and slices it apart with his beam saber. He then stabs it with his brand markers and sends it crashing into one of the Jovian Battleships. The crash and resulting explosion creates a hole in the defenses for the Mother Vanguard to punch through. The Mother Vanguard rams into the enemy base and fires all its cannons. The vice captain apologizes to Berah for charging in without her having issued orders. As the crew prepares to fight in close combat, one of them spots Bernadette stealing a car and leaving the ship. Kincade engages an Elevado and destroys it. Zabine destroys an enemy and thinks that the Crossbones defeating the Jupiter Empire will unite the supporters of aristocracy for his goal of reviving Cosmo Babylonia. Umon tells Kincade that their infiltration of the base is too easy. Kincade asks if that’s a Newtype insight, and Umon answers that it’s just his intuition as a veteran. A general rushes into a chamber to report to Dogatie, and Dogatie laughs and tells him to let the enemy come.

 

Commentary

 

The second volume of Crossbone Gundam picks up immediately after the first one, and it shows both the harsh reality of life on resource-starved Jupiter, as well as the fanatical, cult-like devotion that some Jovians have for Dogatie, who is unmistakably a cruel dictator. Yet for every maniac like Karas, you have someone like Barnes, the honorable enemy who sees the coming war as a fight to live. Others have their own agendas regarding the war, including Zabine, who wants to resurrect Cosmo Babylonia. Zabine didn't receive much development in Gundam F91, and while a lot can happen in a decade, he's a very different character here - a sneaky, suspicious person who Kincade (justifiably) doesn't trust. This gap in history regarding what happened to Cosmo Babylonia and how it fell, is a blank spot that warranted more exploration than we've seen up to now. Tobia, like previous UC protagonists before him, starts to display Newtype skills during the fight against the Elefante. While the Crossbone team is successful in destroying that annoying mobile armor, Umon's suspicions were correct, and they're walking right into a trap.

 

Overall Rating

Full StarFull StarFull StarHalf StarNo Star

3.5 out of 5 stars
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