Monday, December 06, 2004

Madara vol. I

I'm coming to the party a little late as this is my first experience with manga. Just about everyone and their mother have been reading manga the last few years, but I've never jumped into it, mainly because I have plenty of traditional, American styled comics to read in my collection. When DC decided it was going to start a manga imprint, however, I thought I might as well give this format a look so I preordered one of CMX manga's debut titles--Madara.

After reading this, my first manga, I am sorely unimpressed. I don't know if something was lost in the translation, if this was just a bad title, or if I just don't "get" manga, but once I got done reading all 200+ pages of this thing, I wanted to request my $10 (well, $6 since I preordered it) and 1.5 hours of my life back.

So here's the story in this first volume of five: Some kid has a body made up of artificial parts. He's this way because his dad is some evil emperor that didn't want to kill him so he just ripped up his body into 8 parts and gave them to 8 different guardians. Madara doesn't know this until his village is attacked by some wolf things. His mentor gives him a sword that he has him hold up to his head which causes him to turn into some beserker fighting machine.

Now that Madara knows that he needs to find his real body parts (why, though, no one knows) he rushes off on a quest to find them. With him comes a girl from his village who also happens to have a crush on him. He later finds out that his superpowers don't just come from the sword being held up to his head. No, she also has to be in the vacinity (why, though, no one knows). So Madara travels around and fights some bad guys and ears two of his body parts back. Yippee.

Yeah, that's the gist of the story. Does it seem really lame and hopelessly convoluted and pointless to you? Well, it sure does to me. I really couldn't enjoy this book at all simply because of the contrivances of the plot. The only thing that kept me even moderately involved was the art. It was actually pretty decent and some of the fight choreography was neatly illustrated. Beyond that one small redeeming factor, my first foray into manga was a total failure. I might try out another manga series or two in the future, but it's moved much lower on my list of things to read and spend money on.

Art: 3.5
Story: 1.5
Overall: 1.5

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