Midweek Manga Reviews: Junk, Oh My Goddess, and Shannara

Dark Wraith of Shannara
By: Terry Brooks
Adaptation: Robert Place Napton
Illustrate by: Edwin David
Publisher: Del Rey

Alright, two things before we start this review. No, this is not really manga, but it is in the same format that the other manga from Del Rey is released in. Two, I have never read a Shannara book, even though I have been told by numerous friends to get off my ass and read them. Melanie however did do an awesome recap of some of the books like Wishsong to keep me familiar with some of the scenery. So keep in mind this is my introduction to the world of Shannara. There is a nice forward by Terry brooks himself where he calls this graphic novel a grand experiment. I found the prologue a good recap into this world that I was unfamiliar with as well. We find Jair (which also happens to be my middle name) a little more mature than he was in Wishsong and living in the Four Lands. He is now testing his new magical powers when the shade of Druid Allanon sends him on a task. He warns him of an evil inhuman race (the Mwellerts) that have a new scheme starting with the abduction of two of Jair’s friends Kimber and Cogline. The only way to get them back is for him to look into the dark arts that his father and sister told him not to use and he looks for help in the spirit of a deceased warrior.

I really enjoyed the character designs in the book; they really looked like the characters in fantasy novels. David does a great job with action sequences, but sometimes his figures look a bit odd. He reminds me of a mixture between Justianno and Kevin Lau. At times his anatomy can be a little off and some pictures look awkward. Del Rey includes an artist’s sketchbook, showing concept drawings and changes following Terry’s instructions. There is an extract from Wishsong for those who might be tempted to go and read the novel after this graphic novel. While I’m sure that Brooks will continue to write novels, if he ever wants to write another comic again, count me in. After reading the extract from Wishsong, I will be checking that book out as soon as I get a chance. The book kept me interested and I wanted to know more about the characters when I was done. If you enjoy fantasy books or are want to try to dive into the world of Shannara, this is a great way to get your feet wet. I am sure fans of the popular series have already picked this up. B+

Junk: Record of the Last Hero vol. 6
Story & Art: Kia Asamiya
Translation: Kenji Komiya
Adaptation: Ailen Lujo
Publisher: Dr Master

From the creator of Silent Mobius, Steam Detectives, and Nadesico comes his latest creation: Junk. Although it’s not really a catchy superhero name here, it does make sense when you actually read the books. Kia Asamiya was influenced by superhero shows as a child, which led him to take an interest in Western superheroes. He fulfilled one of his dreams when he got the gig drawing Uncanny X-men. I was a little disappointed in the story when I read volumes 1 and 2. The story was really unoriginal (guy gets a bionic suit that enhances his speed, strength, etc) and the main character was a complete tool. The first thing he did with his new powers was beat up all the bullies that picked on him at school. However, the story has turned for the better and Hiro is maturing as he gets more and more used to his power.

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