After the Elrics conclude the details of their misfortune, Izumi reveals that she too attempted human transmutation and paid the price. Izumi fell extremely ill while pregnant with her first child. The child couldn’t make it to full term and Izumi was left with a body unable to bear another. Hurt and desperate, the powerful alchemist committed the ultimate bastardization of the craft, saw “the truth” and lost parts of her insides. Izumi and the Elrics embrace in a beautiful moment, which quickly turns as the teacher officially expels them as her students.
Mustang is transferred to Central and Ed heads to South HQ to complete his yearly State Alchemist exam where he runs into King Bradley who immediately passes him. Al is ambushed and abducted by a group of chimeras who work for a homunculus named Greed. Izumi tries to rescue her former student, only to be sent off to retrieve Ed. King Bradley overhears the conversation and travels back with them without Ed realizing it. Greed is set on achieving eternal life which he believes Al has obtained through adhering his soul to the armor.
Ed confronts Greed and a brutal fight ensues. King Bradley and the military mercilessly mow down the chimeras. As Greed tries to escape, King Bradley confronts him and obliterates his loyal chimera allies. It is revealed that Bradley is in fact a homunculus and his rivalry with Greed runs deep. After Bradley incapacitates Greed, he murders a chimera hiding inside Al’s armor which causes the younger Elric brother to recall his trauma from witnessing The Truth.
Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition Vol. 5 continues to be a phenomenal thrill ride. Even though I know every twist and turn to this story, the dialogue and art are so masterfully done that I feel like I’m reading it again for the first time. The combination of drama, horror, action, emotion, humor and fortitude are an intellectual symphony. The layered story telling leaves me desperate for more.
The emotional bond between the Elrics and Izumi is probably one of my favorite elements of this volume. Her level of understanding and compassion are only matched by her fiery tough loving nature. Sig meeting Major Armstrong is the epitome of bromance. Their immediate respect for one another is hilarious. Greed is one of my favorite characters for the entire series as he adds a stark contrast to his fellow homunculi. The beauty of Fullmetal Alchemist is it’s seamless ability to portray growth for every single character. With a massive cast of characters, that is no small feat.
The Fullmetal Edition Vol. 5 includes concept sketches and insight into Izumi Curtis and (very randomly) Cornello. Intermittent full color pages bring flashes of brilliance throughout the collected works. The incredible hardcover features the Izumi with light green metallic lettering. You can order your copy of this amazing series right here!
Note: Viz Media provided us with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.