November 3, 2009

10 BEAUTIFUL ASSASSINS, THIRD REVIEW

This breathless crime caper is a lot more complex than it lets on, with overlapping layers of plot that far exceed the standard "phantom thief" formula. First, you take your instantly charismatic main character—part Lupin, part Bond, part Bourne—then throw a massive wrench into his plans, something involving duplicate necklaces, a rival thief, a millionaire's daughter, and the aforementioned assassins, who come armed with knives and guns and rocket launchers. All that's left to do after that is sit back and enjoy one of the greatest extended chase scenes ever committed to paper, a chase scene where at one point Bernie drives an F1 race car under a semi truck. And later he has a swordfight with a French maid on a maglev train. How awesome is this?! Even better is that Elmer Damaso has the artistic chops to keep up with the incredible ideas spewing out of Thomas Hart's head; every single action sequence is rendered with such intensity that the glue is probably the only thing keeping those pages from flying out of the book. If the ultimate goal of manga is to be cinematic, then this is 3-D IMAX cinematic manga. Seriously.

So says Carlos Santos at the Anime News Network and makes the book the world (OEL) manga of the month. He also recognises, but is kind enough to the book's flaws, of which the author knows there are many.