We've finally reach the end of the road metaphorically speaking,arriving at the end manga wise and the beginning time line wise. It's been a long road with some nice paved roads with a small interlude on a dirt road filled with oil slicks and whatnot. Reading this manga a few week back is what inspired me to write again for better or worse. In some respects I do owe it that,on the other hand it's not that good so I do not owe it that much.
The Metroid manga was released as a tie-in of sorts to promote the remake of the original Metroid,Zero Mission. As mentioned previously it does take quite a few cues from Nintendo Power's(god rest its' soul) Super Metroid comics. Expanding heavily on Samus' back story as well as Mother Brain and the Galactic Federation to some extent. It is considered the canon back story that most games are supposed to be drawing from even if it contains/causes contradictions for some of the games. I'd say more but it involves Other M and I'm not opening that can of worms.
The plot as mentioned is a more detailed account of Old Bird's story from the Super Metroid comics giving us more insight on the Chozo's culture and how Zebes became a pirate stronghold. They give Samus and Old Bird more of a connection with him being her rescuer after Ridley's attack on Samus's colony. They also introduce the character of Grey Voice,who despite having a much important role in the second half,gets downplayed in the section concerning Samus' childhood. So once he does pull a big damn hero moment it lose some of it's impact. Mother Brain is introduced as the control computer of Zebes and gets a generic AI gone rouge personality. The story bring up some more ties to Metroid Fusion with the Chozo's discovery of the X-parasite. The Chozo decide to not tell the Federation about The X because they'd just screw it up. I'd give them more crap about that but knowing the Federation's track record it's probably for the better.
The Galactic Federation is in it's infancy here with the Space Pirate problem being a major issue that they spend about a chapter or so debating. It is sort of like the Phantom Menace senate scenes except much shorter They've redesigned Chairman Keaton in to a more of a wise old man and Hardy into a buddy cop police chief. The characters aren't that bad just one note which extends to most of the Federation characters. Adam Malkovich also makes his manga appearance here and again I am not going into Other M. He doesn't do much and it's baffling why Samus ends up trusting him so much. They get like two minor scenes together and she and him are great partners after that.
Samus herself has some fairly interesting growth here going from hotheaded young person to a strong responsible adult. The Chozo saddle her with heavy responsibility and the weight of that plus being slightly outcast develops her lone wolf personality. She struggles to deal with her past and ends up confronting it and finally accepting her destiny. This is also where they bring up Samus' PTSD with Ridely...and she overcomes it. It's a really great scene that is handled well and is a big turning point for Samus. That's all I'm going to say about it,moving on.
The plot itself is not really that bad overall it suffers from poor characters and everyone is just boring outside of Samus and Gray Voice. The story itself is presented well enough and flows really well till the end where it decided to tack on some weird direct prologue to the original game. It brings up a plot hole regarding the acquisition of Samus missiles and bombs. The whole section is rushed and feels out of place.
The art for the book is great and a bit meh at the same time. The alien races all look like something George Lucas would turn down for being to silly and are really generic. The Chozo look awesome even if their own version of the power suit is a tad ridiculous. The pirates and Ridley are on par with the penguins from Samus and Joey is terms of terrifying designs. On the other end of the spectrum young Samus is one of the cutest things I have seen in my life.
In the end this really is not that bad a manga just okay. It is lacking anything to make it stand out or be enjoyable like Samus and Joey.As far as canon goes we could get worse, they could have made the Echos manga canon. It is not worth checking out unless you really need a Metroid fix or want to see a bird man kick some serious ass.