Deadman Wonderland: Volume 4 review
By Leroy Douresseaux
August 13, 2014 - 10:28

Viz Media
Writer(s): Jinsei Kataoka, Joe Yamazaki, Stan!
Penciller(s): Kazuma Kondou
Letterer(s): James Gaubatz
ISBN: 978-1-4215-6412-8
$9.99 US, $12.99 CAN, £6.99 U.K., 196pp, B&W, paperback
Rating: T+ (Teen Plus)

Deadman Wonderland Volume 4 cover image is courtesy of

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Rated “T+” for Older Teen

The Great Tokyo Earthquake put 70% of Japan underwater; that was ten years ago.  Now, in near-future Japan, Deadman Wonderland, a privately run, carnival-like penitentiary, has risen from the ruins of Tokyo.  This bizarre and fatal theme park is a place where the prison bosses force the inmates to perform in notorious gladiatorial fights to the death.  Fourteen-year-old Ganta Igarashi is one of the newest inmates, sentenced to death for a crime that he did not commit.

Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 4 (Chapters 13 to 16) opens, Ganta is introduced to the members of the anti-establishment group, Scar Chain.  The leader, Nagi Kengamine a/k/a “Owl,” informs Ganta that a government select committee is set to inspect Deadman Wonderland.  Scar Chain will use the visit as an opportunity to get a data chip, containing information of the truth about the prison, to one of the visiting inspectors.

But there is a traitor in their midst.  Awaiting their plot are The Undertakers, a unit specifically formed to mercilessly stamp out the rebels.  Ganta is handed an important task, one that will affect his close relationship with a fellow inmate.

THE LOWDOWN:  As I have written before, VIZ Media’s plans to publish the Deadman Wonderland manga on a bimonthly basis is a good move.  Something is always happening; there is a big reveal practically every few pages.  Thus, this 13-volume graphic novel series, which reads likes a serialized science fiction comic book, needs a short publishing schedule.  We need to read it while the narrative and the reveals are keeping us piping hot for the next volume.

Deadman Wonderland Volume 4 reveals that allies can be enemies and that some enemies are not what they seem to be on the surface.  Plus, there is a huge misunderstanding with some heartbreak.  Deadman Wonderland is not escapist sci-fi, but it is a breathless read like the best escapist fiction.  It is a good read, one that will demand that you do not miss a volume.

POSSIBLE AUDIENCE:  Readers who like shonen science fiction action will want to try Deadman Wonderland.

Rating: A/10

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