Midtown Comics has a lot to offer this week, from Pokemon to Twlight. Melinda, Kate, Sean, and Michelle make their picks below!
MELINDA: It’s nearly impossible for me to choose just one title, with new volumes of several favorites arriving at Midtown Comics this week. This week’s list runs the gamut when it comes to my personal tastes as well, with series as different as, say, Twin Spica and Pandora Hearts tempting me with pretty much equal power. But in the end, I’ll do the predictable thing, and throw my vote to volume ten of SangEun Lee’s supernatural sunjeong manhwa, 13th Boy. I know I keep raving about this series, but seriously, it’s just that enjoyable. With only two more volumes to go, the drama really ramps up here in volume ten, and we begin to understand more clearly just what the connection is between weirdly gifted Whie-Young and the boy-cactus he gave life to, Beatrice. It’s all kind of heartbreaking, really, and as a reader, I’m torn over even what I want to happen. This is a great thing. If you’ve never gotten around to trying this series, keep your eyes open, as I’ll be doing a giveaway later this week.
KATE: My vote goes to volume eleven of Twin Spica. Writing about Twin Spica in 2010, when I named it one my best manga of the year, I noted that Twin Spica is “an all-too-rare example of a direct, heartfelt story that’s neither saccharine nor mawkish.” Asumi, the story’s heroine, is painfully sincere, but she isn’t the least bit annoying; if anything, she may be one of the strongest, most resilient female characters I’ve encountered in a comic, in spite of her small size. The supporting characters are just as memorable as Asumi. Kei, Asumi’s hot-headed friend, is a great example: she means well, but has a tendency to fire from the hip, unwittingly insulting people she cares about. We’ve all known someone just like Kei — perhaps when we were in high school — giving her scenes with Asumi, Marika, and the other students an extra charge of realism. These true-to-life characters prevent Twin Spica from becoming too precious, even when it flirts with magical realism. (See Mr. Lion.) A lovely coming-of-age story that works for stargazers of all ages.
MICHELLE: With Melinda so eloquently advocating for 13th Boy, a series I also feel strong affection for, I’m going to branch out a bit and recommend the first volume of Durarara!!. I just read it this week, and found it to be “weird but intriguing.” Frequently, I am daunted by series that introduce this many characters and ideas right up front—this is why it took me a while to get back into Pandora Hearts, after all—but that didn’t happen with Durarara!!. I think it’s the hints of interconnectedness between the subplots that really pulled me in, not to mention the incredibly cool Ikebukuro urban legend: the Black Rider. I have no idea how the manga compares to the novels or the anime, but I really enjoyed this volume and look forward to the next.
SEAN: And since Michelle was kind enough to mention Durarara!!, it falls to me to plug another volume of my favorite light novel series coming out over here to date. Book Girl and the Corrupted Angel is the 4th in the Book Girl series, each of which I have greatly enjoyed. The books aren’t perfect, but they’re fast reads and really good at getting inside the teen psyche. They can also be quite creepy when they want to be, and not just because the titular book girl is a ‘goblin’. Each volume has turned out to focus on a different member of Tohko and Konoha’s social circle, and judging by the description this new volume will finally focus on Nanase Kotobuki. I’ve found her a bit of a cliched tsundere in the previous books, but have no doubt that we’ll see different facets of her here. Highly recommended.
Readers, what looks good to you this week?