Comic Picks By The Glick

Blood Blockade Battlefront vol. 1

September 23, 2011

“Trigun,” the anime, is a true classic of the medium.  Not only did it thrive on the sometimes whiplash-inducing shifts from comedy to drama, its creators also told a satisfying story after they adapted the entirety of the manga published at the time (something that all Shonen Jump anime seem to have a problem with).  I never got into the manga as much because I was borrowing it from the same friend who loaned me “Hellsing,” and, well, after the anime concluded, I didn’t really feel the need to find out how the “official” version ended.  Still, there’s no denying that its creator Yasuhiro Nightow has a gift for coming up with distinctive characters and art, so I figured I’d give the first volume of his new series a shot.

While the premise feels like a “Mad Libs” Shonen Jump setup -- a supernatural event causes New York to become Jerusalem’s Lot, where the wildly supernatural intersects with our world -- it does give Nightow license to draw all sorts of interesting creatures and characters.  The guy you see on the cover isn’t even the most striking one in the volume.  He’s not even the main character as that title falls to the unassuming Leo who has come to the city after an event six months ago left him without a sister and the ability to see things that others don’t.  After being mistaken for another man, he winds up becoming a part of Libra, a shadowy group of unique individuals dedicated to keeping the peace in the city.  This happens just in time for him to become embroiled in a plot by Femt, “The King of Depravity,” to unleash chaos in Jerusalem’s Lot as a monster he bisected cuts its way through the city to become whole again.

Everything about Nightow’s style screams “over the top” from the gigantic monsters, to the very heavily armed police in the city, to the casual way the heroes defy the laws of physics and realistic damage thresholds in their battles.  Yes, you’ve seen this kind of action in plenty of other mangas, but the creator’s level of skill and the good humor on display throughout this volume elevate it a notch above the competition.  Fans of Nightow will surely like it and those looking for something with more style and edge than what’s on display in Shonen Jump will likely be entertained as well.  Just don’t expect any deep thoughts or meaning from this and you’ll be fine.

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