Monday, December 11, 2006

Graphic Novel A Day: Monster Vol. 5

Writer/Artist: Naoki Urusawa
Translators: Agnes Yoshida & Hirotaka Kikaya
Company: Viz
Price: $9.99 ($9.99 at Amazon)

I really need to write up a review of the Monster series for Comic Pants. The first volume is kind of slow, but after volume two, when the basic premise and characters are laid out, the thing gets going like a rollercoaster. The high concept is that a surgeon saves a young boy who turns out to be a serial killer, and then he goes on the run (accused of the boy's crimes) trying to find the kid and deal with him. There's a lot more to it than that, though, including eugenics experiments, conspiracies, psychological warfare, murders and mysteries and plenty more. To use a clumsy comparison, it'd be a great TV show, introducing guest stars and recurring supporting players while providing satisfying plots with closure each week. This time out, Dr. Tenma (the lead) meets up with a criminal psychiatrist he knew in prison. The story follows this psychiatrist's personal journey, including a story with his own current case that ties into Dr. Tenma's, as well as ongoing tales of Johan's sister, his followers and a clever federal agent who is tracking Dr. Tenma and doesn't seem entirely mentally balanced himself. Great suspense storytelling.

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