Sunday, November 23, 2008

Manga Review: Black Jack Volume 2 Astounds and Confounds

Deb's Manga Blog

By Deb Aoki, Guide to Manga


Manga Review: Black Jack Volume 2 Astounds and Confounds

Tuesday November 18, 2008

This week, Vertical's second volume of Osamu Tezuka's medical manga Black Jack hits the stores, and it's a sight for sore eyes indeed. After reviewing several manga that I could only say "meh" to this week, it's nice to come back to a series that reminds me how engaging and fun manga can be.

Black Jack Volume 2 (of a planned 13-volume set) gives us more of the fast-paced, eye-popping, heart-warming and sometimes downright strange adventures of Black Jack, a rogue doctor with a heart of gold. Granted, Tezuka re-hashes some of the story themes he already explored in Black Jack Volume 1, but he also manages to surprise readers with stories that show new and different facets of Black Jack and child-woman Pinoko's personalities.

But Black Jack has a few moments that are frankly confusing -- and it's mostly because like film directors Alfred Hitchcock (Vertigo, Psycho, The Birds), Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, A Mighty Wind, Best in Show) and the Coen Brothers (Fargo, The Big Lebowski, Raising Arizona), Tezuka liked to bring back favorite 'actors' from his other stories to make cameo appearances in new 'roles' in his creations. If you're used to Tezuka's quirks, it's almost endearing that characters from Astro Boy, Dororo and Princess Knight resurface as cast members in several Black Jack stories. But for the uninitiated, this can be a bit perplexing.

In any case, check out my review of Black Jack Volume 2 and see if this classic manga is just what the doctor ordered for a case of the blahs. Also, if you missed it the first time, take a look at review of Black Jack Volume 1. You can also check out a full-length preview of stories from Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3 at Vertical's Black Jack manga page.

For even more Black Jack fun, enter to win a set of Black Jack Volumes 1, 2 and 3 at Precocious Curmudgeon. All you have to do is add a comment about your 'prescription' to cure the comics industry at that post, and you'll be in the running to win. But hurry, deadline for entries is midnight, Sunday November 23, 2008!

Image credit: © Tezuka Productions

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