D.Gray-Man: Volume 14 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
He lives in a world that is essentially an alternate version of our world’s 19th century, and 15-year-old Allen Walker roams this world searching for a substance called “Innocence.” Allen is an Exorcist and uses Innocence, which has bonded with his left arm to form a bladed weapon, to fight his enemies. Allen and his fellow Exorcists battle the evil Millennium Earl (who resembles a caricature of a Victorian gentleman) and his minions, the demons known as “Akuma.”
As D.Gray-man, Vol. 14 opens, Allen and his comrades are trapped in a rapidly disintegrating ark, while Allen’s teacher, Cross Marion, battles Tyki Mikk, a Noah (a group of humans who are united with the Earl). The Millennium Earl has arrived on the scene and is spreading destruction in every direction. The Earl has initiated a series of data downloads that will transfer the ark’s secrets and powers to him. Only one person can stop this – Allen, but in order to do so he will have to play the piano, except he doesn’t know how to play the piano!
Also, the arrival of Special Inspector Malcolm C. Rouvelier, sent by the Vatican, shines the light of suspicion on Allen, his abilities, and his recent success. Is Allen a threat to the Black Order (the “army” to which the Exorcists belong)?
THE LOWDOWN: Like an episode of Bleach, the 14th volume of D.Gray-man opens with a great battle that takes up nearly half the pages of this book. There is a nice mixture of action, character drama, and mythology chapters, and this is one of the better recent collections. The idiosyncratic figure drawing this time around offers some interesting views of the characters.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Fans may find D.Gray-man to be the Bleach of the “Shonen Jump Advanced” line of manga.