Title: Drug & Drop volume 1
Published: February 1st 2013
Publisher: Dark Horse.
The first Legal Drug series went on hiatus in 2003. Drug & Drop will again follow the lead characters Kazahaya Kudo and Rikuo Himura. The new manga will reveal Kazahaya and Rikuo’s pasts as well as the background of Green Drug, the mysterious drugstore where they work.
Kazahaya awakens from a disturbing dream of the sister he had to part from, Kei—covered in blood and clutching close to her. If it’s a case of seeing spirits three’s one young man Kazahaya and Rikuo can go to for advice…
Drug & Drop is the continuation of Legal Drug a trilogy put out by Clamp in 2000. I was so excited when I saw that this was finally available in the states, as Clamp is one of my favorite manga circles. The art is beautiful with amazing backgrounds and even more beautiful characters. This picks up right after the events of the last volume of Legal Drug. We’re thrown right into the action and a continuing story line. As it is Clamp you need to pay attention to details and wording because it hints at things to come.
I love the ‘guest’ character who shows up this volume. I love him in his own series, and I’m really hoping that he shows up more throughout Drug & Drop. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, because Clamp is so convoluted and intertwined. I cannot talk about the art enough, it is beautiful. Their line work is flawless, and their characters are all so beautiful and memorable. The story telling is great, as this volume ended on a cliff hanger (I need to go pick up the next volume asap!)
Overall: Start with Legal Drug, otherwise you’ll be totally lost. Thankfully, it’s not out of print, you can get all three in an omnibus on Amazon or any bookseller. Beautiful art, great story. Can’t wait to read more.
Title: Les Miserables the Fall of Fantine
Author/Artist:Victor Hugo, Crystal Silvermoon, Stacy King, SunNeko Lee
Published: August 1, 2014
Publisher: Diamond Book Distributers.
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo’s classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!
The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Miserables!
The classic epic, Les Miserables is retold here with classic manga art. I’m not fond of this art style, the wide eyed, sparkly shoujo-kawaii style art. The art aside it’s a wonderful re-telling staying true to the classic, but presenting it in a way that’s easily understood. Some of the more delicate nuances of the source material are lost in translation, but it’s still a strong story. This volume focuses on Fantine and her story within Les Mis. I found that she was even more sympathetic in this version, causing me to feel really sorry for her.
Some of the narration is repeated throughout the pages, creating a double exposition effect. I wasn’t too bothered by this, as it happens in other volumes and series. If you’re interested in reading this, and you haven’t read manga, please be sure to read from right to left (so start at what would typically be the end of the book). The art style takes a little while to get used to, and the text is a bit overblown, but at it’s core it’s a great presentation of an iconic piece of literature.
Overall: Classic literature gets the manga touch, with overblown text and pretty illustrations. I’d present this to younger readers, or those intimidated by the massive tome.
In the city of Ergastulum, a shady ville filled with made men and petty thieves, whores on the make and cops on the take, there are some deeds too dirty for even its jaded inhabitants to touch. Enter the “Handymen,” Nic and Worick, who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. Until the day when a cop they know on the force requests their help in taking down a new gang muscling in on the territory of a top Mafia family. It seems like business (and mayhem) as usual, but the Handymen are about to find that this job is a lot more than they bargained for.
Reads R to L (Japanese Style) for mature audiences.
This series is one that is really important to me. It hits all of the things I look for when I’m looking for manga. It’s got a great story line, with amazing characters. Nic and Worick seem like the stereotypical ‘do it all common place thugs’ but it’s so much more than that. They’ve got a history, and while it’s hinted at in the first volume, I have a feeling we won’t get much more than hints and quick flashbacks until later volumes.
Volume one sets up the world of Ergastulum. It’s a very dark and unpleasant place where cops seem to turn a blind eye to most crimes, and the city is run not by officials but various warring gangs. Nic and Worick are two ‘handymen’ who do jobs that one else wants to do, and they do it quickly and very well. The character designs are beautiful, the art full of sketchy lines, and beautiful shading. The characters are well rounded and I’m seriously in love with them. There’s more to Nic and Worick than initially presented. Worick has a second job (which probably pays more of the bills) and Nic is treated like an outcast, his dog-tags marking him as something dangerous even among the thieves and killers. Alex is a great addition to this rag tag duo, and I’m really looking forward to the role she may play later on.
Overall: This manga is quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you’re looking for something that’s a little more mature than the ‘BIG THREE manga” and you like darker story lines check out Gangsta. The next volume comes out May 20th.