The new science fiction manga series from Vertical, 7 Billion Needles, sees introverted high school girl Hikaru Takabe joined with an alien lifeform. At first, it's just annoying, breaking through her mind and talking to her incessantly. Then it demonstrates unusual, and pretty amazing, powers. Hikaru herself is one of those kids who sits in the corner of class, trying her best not to be noticed, sporting head phones as an extra incentive to get people to avoid speaking with her. When she joins with this being calling itself "Horizon," she finds that she must interact with the people around her if she's to uncover the malicious alien that Horizon came to Earth to hunt down. Without her help, Earth will be overtaken and destroyed by this evil alien. So Hikaru breaks out of her comfort zone. It's nice to see her do this - Hikaru's a really neat character, with something pretty devastating hinted at in her past that I'm sure will come up in future volumes. The art in this book is pretty amazing - nice clean lines with a cinematic feel to it. Of course, with a premise such as this, it's hard not to compare it to the manga Parasyte, with its similar premise of aliens joining with humans and fighting. That series also boasted great art, and had monsters that distorted the bodies of the humans they bonded with, much like the monstrous "Maelstrom" in 7 Billion Needles. This is a really fun book. There's plenty of pretty art and great action, and a good dose of suspense. I'm interested to see what's in store for Hikaru in the future, but don't expect anything too original out of the first volume.