The first inkling that director James Cameron was trying to get a Battle Angel Alita movie off the ground came a full 17 years ago, and the filmmaker characteristically hasn’t let the production die off completely, no matter how much time may have elapsed.
But if English-speaking fans wanted to see what it was about the 1990 manga that so captivated Cameron, it wasn’t always easy: As of 2017, the manga has been out of print for nearly a decade. That changes today, with a new digital edition about the titular amnesiac cyborg, and — courtesy of Kodansha Comics and Comixology Originals — you can read the entire first chapter below.
Battle Angel Alita is the best-known work of Yukito Kishiro, who’s been garnering praise for his comics since he was 17. Alita was first serialized from 1990 to 1995, the climax of the cyberpunk era — and the genre is clear. The lead character is a cyborg from the city of Scrapyard, the junkheap below the floating utopia of Tiphares. Salvaged as a head and torso and outfitted with new parts, Alita discovers that all she remembers of her old life is a deadly martial art developed specifically for humanoid cyborgs. The manga follows her story, as she works as a bounty hunter and slowly recovers memories of who she is.
James Cameron’s long-awaited adaptation will be directed by Robert Rodriguez and has a release date of July 20, 2018 — making it ripe for repackaging for a modern comics audience. The new translation is available exclusively on Comixology, with the first three volumes of the nine-part series out today. Volumes four to six will be out in August, and seven to nine in October.
Volumes one, two and three cost $10.99 each, and are included in the curated library of Comixology Unlimited, Comixology’s subscription service.