The pickin’s are somewhat slim this week at Midtown Comics, but the Battle Robot is able to find a few comics worth buying.
SEAN: … I’ll be honest, nothing thrills me from this week’s manga list. Instead, my vote goes to Vol. 3 of IDW’s Best of Dan DeCarlo, another in their line of Archie Comics series devoted to classic authors. Admittedly, it would have been nice to see the fine folks at Archie show love to these artists while they were still alive, but we can’t have everything. The first collection of Dan’s work focused almost entirely on his Betty and Veronica classics, and that makes sense: Dan is most famous for the way he drew the female form, and those comics best show that off. Now that we’re three volumes in, I’m wondering if we’ll see some more variety. Plus this collection likely means even more scripts by Frank Doyle, who was simply the best writer Archie ever had in its classic years.
BRIGID: I probably wouldn’t do this if there were a stronger selection to choose from, but my pick is vol. 3 of Kannagi, both because it’s a nice series and as a tribute to the publisher, Bandai Entertainment, which is closing up shop next month. That means there will be no new volumes of Kannagi. That might be a good thing. The first volume was a pleasant surprise, the second volume a bit weaker. Still, I enjoy Eri Takenashi’s elegantly simple art, and Bandai did a nice job with production on these books. I’ll miss Kannagi.
MJ: I’m going to follow Brigid’s example here, and throw my vote to Kannagi. I enjoyed the series’ first volume quite a bit, and was disappointed by the second, but I’ve held out hope that the third might steer the story back to its original trajectory. I’m sorry to see Kannagi and Bandai go. Manga was never the compay’s focus, but they worked hard to do well by it and learned from their mistakes. It’s a shame this series won’t be completed in English.
KATE: My choice is the final volume of Hyde & Closer. At seven volumes, the series never overstays its welcome, offering readers an enjoyable mixture of comedy and horror, with a sprinkling of life lessons. The crisp, imaginative artwork is another plus; Haro Aso had a talent for transforming seemingly benign toys — a kokeshi doll, a teddy bear — into lethal weapons. (Do I really need to say more than “teddy bears with chainsaws” to sell you on the concept?) It’s a pity the series was saddled with an Older Teen rating, as it’s a perfect choice for younger teens who’ve outgrown material like BakeGyamon: Backwards Game but aren’t quite ready for the more mature shonen titles in VIZ, Yen Press, and Kodansha’s catalogs.
MICHELLE: Ordinarily, I’d cast my vote for volume five of Bokurano: Ours, but as I’ve done so at least once already, I’ll focus instead on volume 41 of Case Closed, which I talked about in a recent Off the Shelf column. I realize it’s unlikely that anyone new to a series would decide to start with volume 41, but Case Closed is the rare example of a manga where one could legitimately do this, not be lost, and enjoy it. All it takes is being in the mood for a mystery that features gadget-assisted sleuthing and convoluted murder puzzles. If this were seinen, no doubt the series would be more grim and realistic. Because it’s shounen, though, readers are in for uncomplicated fun.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?