It looks to be a manageable lot on this week’s ComicList, at least for me. That’s just as well, as I used a Borders buy-four-get-the-fifth-free deal as an excuse to overspend on manga last weekend.
Fire Investigator Nanasd (CMX), story by Izo Hashimoto and art by Tomoshige Ichikawa, is the kind of book that makes me happy for a handful of reasons. It’s not brilliant, but it’s entertaining, and it combines mystery and adventure in pleasing ways. It’s got an appealing, highly competent female lead and puts her through the arson version of The Silence of the Lambs as she fights fires and looks into their origins with the aid of a serial arsonist. And, unrelated to the book’s quality but still welcome, the first search result for the series actually takes you to the publisher of the book, which almost never happens. I know. Weird things make me happy.
One of my Borders purchases this weekend was the first volume of You Higuri’s Ludwig II (Juné), which is… well… weird. As Kate Dacey noted in her review, it contains the holy trinity of Higuri historical fantasy: “beautiful people in beautiful clothes, political intrigue, and darkly handsome protagonists who are touched by madness.” The titular protagonist is one of those rulers every citizen of a monarchy should dread: a delusional opera queen. As is usually the case with Higuri yaoi (or near-yaoi), the gorgeous art and weird nuances are carrying me past the sordid but strangely listless seme-uke shenanigans between Ludwig and his devoted manservant. We’ll see if those features continue to offer sufficient compensation to make me want to track down volume two.
Do you miss the days when Greg Rucka did creator-owned work? Well, there’s good news for you, as he returns to Oni (home to his Queen and Country and Whiteout) with a new detective series, Stumptown, illustrated by Matthew Southworth. Once again, he seems to be following the gritty misadventures of a strong female protagonist, a private investigator named Dex in the midst of a high-stakes missing-person case. The art looks terrific, and Rucka certainly has a strong track record with undiluted noir.
Viz unleashes a thundering herd of titles, many of which I like very much, but I’ll fixate on one because it’s great and I feel like I’ve been neglecting it: Hikaru no Go, written by Yumi Hotta and illustrated by Takeshi Obata, which reaches its 17th volume. This looks to be a particularly eventful installment. Protagonist Hikaru has lost his ghostly go mentor Sai, and he faces off with his rival, gifted prodigy Akira. It’s a great series, smartly written by Hotta and beautifully drawn by Obata.