A little while back, inspired by some tenuous connection my mind made between Kill Bill Vol. 1 (which I really enjoyed) and Battle Royale (which I heard good things about), I put Battle Royale on my Netflix list. I watched it, and thought it was OK, but not as mind-blowing as everyone was talking about. I read volume one of the manga, and thought it was interesting, but it didn't quite grab me either.
Cut to about a year later, and several of my friends are raving about the series, which just completed its run with volume 15. Two of these friends actually reviewed it for Ain't It Cool News, and their enthusiasm was infectious. I resolved to read Battle Royale soon.
Then one of my other friends at work decided to go ahead and read it. And so I just decided to follow along behind him, reading whatever books he had finished. I'm currently eight volumes into Battle Royale, and it's pretty incredible. Over-the-top violent, full of sex and disturbing imagery and ideas, but with some great character development and flashbacks that reminds me of the way Lost is structured. There are also some pretty spectacular art moments and martial arts and gun fights. Battle Royale is not for the weak of stomach, but it is a fascinating read, and I've been as engaged by this series as any long-form Vertigo book, at least.
Oh, and while I'm offering up things I've read that I haven't talked about in my weekly updates... I read Black Coat from APE Entertainment this week, and it was great. Pulp action in the revolutionary war timeframe with a supernatural twist, with gorgeous black and white art. APE has also nabbed Athena Voltaire, another Speakeasy book with a pulp-ish feel, and if that's the niche they're going to stake their claim on, they've got two pretty good books to do it with so far. As a fan of the pulp "genre," I'll certainly be interested.
And on yet another tangent, speaking of pulp and comics... I sure wish someone would nab the license to D&D's Eberron world. It seems like a rich world with comic-book sensibilities, and I'd love to see someone nab it and do a kickass fantasy comic in such an interesting setting. Ideally, it'd be nice to see some of the artists who worked on the Eberron books, as those things are gorgeous.