Allen Walker lives in an alternate version of Earth's 19th century. The 15-year-old is an Exorcist and searches for a substance called “Innocence,” some of which has bonded with his left arm to form a bladed weapon. Allen is one of many Exorcists fighting the evil Millennium Earl and his minions, the demons known as “Akuma.” Allen is also a very special Exorcist, and the Earl knows that.
D.Gray-man, Vol. 24 (entitled By Your Side; Chapters 213 to 218) opens in the aftermath of the Black Order's declaration that Allen is a Noah, which is a special class of demon. The Order, the Exorcists' leadership organization, has effectively made Allen a wanted man because “The Fourteenth,” a legendary Noah, resides inside Allen.
He leaves the Order, going on the run with two companions: Johnny Gill and Yu Kanda (who is also an Exorcist). Allen must keep Kanda from killing the Fourteenth, while keeping the Fourteenth from killing Johnny, who is zealously devoted to Allen.
THE LOWDOWN: I have described the D.Gray-man manga as a series constantly in flux. It has been an action/fantasy, a battle manga, a fantasy drama, a fantasy horror, a fantasy adventure, and even a comic fantasy. D.Gray-man Volume 24 is a little bit of everything, so readers can sample the variety in tone that makes this series stand out from other shonen action fantasies.
I must admit that I think that creator Katsura Hoshino's art grows more beautiful each volume. However, the storytelling can be a bit chaotic. Sometimes the pretty pictures are difficult to understand from a narrative point of view. What I do like about this point in the series is that Hoshino has narrowed the focus to fewer characters. So I look forward to the Allen-Kanda-Gill dynamic playing out for a several chapters... hopefully.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for stylish shonen battle manga will enjoy the Shonen Jump Advance title, D.Gray-man.