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Resident Evil: 10 Things You Never Knew About The Biohazard Manga – CBR – Comic Book Resources

Not just contrived spin-offs made to capitalize on a preexisting fanbase, the various Resident Evil manga series are both respectful and refreshing.
Capcom’s Resident Evil franchise has achieved massive levels of success that have helped the zombie-centric series develop a strong reputation that exists outside of the video game industry. Resident Evil has grown into one of the most popular zombie franchises of any media, and it’s exciting how the scope of the universe continues to expand and take risks.
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Resident Evil comics were in publication since the 1990s, but the natural decision for Resident Evil manga didn’t happen until 2007 when the video game series was well underway. There are only three separate Resident Evil manga series, but they all contribute to the franchise in satisfying ways.
It’s always exciting when video games, TV shows, or movies can spin off into the world of comics, but it can often bring up questions regarding its canon status and where these additional stories fit into the larger lore of the series. Resident Evil experiences this very issue with 1998’s Wildstorm comics, which exist in their own continuity that’s separate from the video games, even if the comics try not to intentionally disrupt what the games establish. Resident Evil’s manga is supervised with greater scrutiny so that these stories can actually be considered canon and expansions upon the events of particular games.
There are a number of creative advertising strategies that have been employed by both video games and comics, but it makes sense that Resident Evil would attempt to use one of its markets to help support another. BIOHAZARD Heavenly Island received a special promotion that’s exclusive to the Japanese release of Resident Evil Zero HD Remaster. One of Rebecca Chambers’ alternate costumes plugs the manga series with a design by Naoki Serizawa. Other Japanese-exclusive costumes advertise additional magazines and manga and differ from the North American-exclusive outfits.
Much to the frustration of hardcore gamers, there are many video game-based manga that don’t receive localizations and are largely left to their imagination. Not all of the Resident Evil manga received localizations, but the five-issue Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire does get this luxury.
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However, each of these issues contains an additional “Marhawa’s Report” that provides extra context on the background elements of the series. These reports are removed in Viz’s localizations of the series, which leaves certain details a mystery to the audience as they’re not given the full story.
Video game comics can serve different purposes and there are plenty that exist as standalone stories that can enrich beloved universes. The Resident Evil manga have slightly more of an agenda as each of the three series directly tie into Resident Evil games that were released at the time. BIOHAZARD UMBRELLA CHRONICLES: Prelude to the Fall leads into the rail-shooter, Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles, specifically in regard to Wesker. Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire is a prequel to Resident Evil 6, and BIOHAZARD Heavenly Island is set after 6‘s aftermath and connects to more fringe elements of the franchise.
Sometimes, the utility of a manga spin-off is that it’s able to engage in a story that’s just too outlandish or niche to feature in a proper Resident Evil game. Video games like Dead Island have put the flesh-eating undead into a tropical island setting, but BIOHAZARD Heavenly Island is easily one of the weirder takes on the franchise. The five-issue manga chronicles an island-set reality TV show, Idol Survival Island, to find the new top talent. It’s a very exciting change of pace for a series that’s typically very dour and self-serious.
The Resident Evil manga complements the video game series in several different ways, but one of the most significant details about the five-issue Resident Evil: The Marhawa Desire is that it technically marks the first appearance of Resident Evil 6’s Piers Nivans.
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Piers is Chris Redfield’s partner in the controversial Resident Evil sequel, and he’s one of many central characters in the adventure. Piers isn’t exactly a fan favorite lead, but The Marhawa Desire outlines his experience and helps turn him into more of a reliable hero in the audience’s eyes.
It’s nothing new that Japanese releases, especially when it comes to prestige franchises, can often be considerably more substantial. Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles is a satisfying spin-off that changes the series’ trademark gameplay, yet lovingly looks back on the franchise’s past lore. There’s a special edition Japanese release of Umbrella Chronicles that contains an additional “Wesker’s Extra Report” booklet that offers up more info on the beloved anti-hero. BIOHAZARD UMBRELLA CHRONICLES: Prelude to the Fall is actually set within the same setting that the report discusses.
It’s quite impressive how the subsequent entries in Resident Evil have taken its heroes all across the world and demonstrated how these viral outbreaks are now a global concern that’s far beyond an isolated incident in Raccoon City. It’s a striking change of pace when Resident Evil games are set in regions like Africa. However, the Marhawa Desire manga examines viral outbreaks at the acclaimed Marhawa School in Asia. The manga visits Singapore and the Tropical Forest of Asia upon the BSAA’s orders, which in turn acts as a prelude to the greater tragedies in Resident Evil 6.
Readers of the Resident Evil manga will appreciate all of the ways in which they tie together with the video games, but those who are hungry for more direct adaptations can turn to the Chinese manhua series for satisfaction. In addition to Resident Evil’s manga, there are also multiple manhua series that use the events of major entries in the series for inspiration. The manhua do take some liberties with their adaptations, but they’re the closest thing available for those that want a book version of the video games.
All three of the different Resident Evil manga series are a lot of fun for unique reasons, but BIOHAZARD Heavenly Island is easily the most extreme change of pace. Heavenly Island is a stylistic and tonal shift at times, but it’s also a manga that stands out because it’s a bridge to a wealth of Resident Evil games. Heavenly Island is set after the events of Resident Evil 6, but it ties into Resident Evil: Revelations 2 as well as Resident Evil: Umbrella Corps, delving into details regarding Claire Redfield, TerraSave, and the outbreak in the Tortuga region.
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Daniel Kurland is a freelance writer, comedian, and critic, who lives in the cultural mosaic that is Brooklyn, New York. Daniel’s work can be read on ScreenRant, Splitsider, Bloody Disgusting, Den of Geek, and across the Internet. Daniel recently completed work on a noir anthology graphic novel titled, “Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Noir: A Rag of Bizarre Noir and Hard Boiled Tales” and he’s currently toiling away on his first novel. Daniel’s extra musings can be found @DanielKurlansky on Twitter.


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