Monday, December 15, 2008

Manga Monday: The Outcast

The Outcast (Volume 1)
Vaun Wilmott & Edward Gan
The Outcast is an original English-language manga from Seven Seas Entertainment. The supernatural drama follows Riley, a girl who recently moved to a big city from Missouri following the death of her parents. She's now staying with her grandmother and goes to a school with metal detectors where knife wounds are common, and she is encouraged more than once to keep her head down and not to stand out. Eventually Riley meets a friend in the brazen Kit, who introduces her to the guy that Riley (and every other girl in school) has an eye on, the handsome Carter. This leads to a date with said boy, where some strange things happen, and suddenly Riley is caught up in things that add up to much more than she'd expect if she'd only trust her intuition and put the pieces together. Meanwhile, her grandfather is researching the ancient Brotherhood of the Balance, who believed themselves to be physical incarnations of fallen angels who seek the destruction of a mysterious being: The Outcast. Riley gets in the thick of things on that front as well, and some odd things that happen to her hint of her being special somehow, and she's sure to play a pivotal role in the trials ahead. The set-up for this book is pretty intriguing with some decent characters and some nice dynamics between them. The supernatural stuff is mostly slow-building background stuff, keeping the focus on fish-out-of-water Riley as she struggles to make friends and adjust to her new surroundings. The art is simple, but it gets the job done, which kind of suits this book. It's very ordinary overall. There's nothing really special about it. It's interesting enough to carry a story, the generic conversations the characters have are enough to get from "point A" to "point B," but without the supernatural elements, this would hardly be enough to hold one's attention. Given the final image of this first volume, I'd imagine that the brotherhood of fallen angels are going to play a more active role very shortly, but hopefully sooner rather than later.

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