By Leroy Douresseaux
January 29, 2011 - 09:40
|D.Gray-men Volume 20 cover image is courtesy of barnesandnoble.com.|
Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
In a fictional 19th century England, 15-year-old Allen Walker searches for a substance called "Innocence." Some of this Innocence has bonded with Allen’s left arm to form a bladed weapon. Allen is an Exorcist, one of many fighting the evil Millennium Earl and his minions, the demons known as “Akuma.” Allen is also a special Exorcist, and the Earl knows that.
As D.Gray-man, Vol. 20 (entitled The Voice of Judah) opens, the Noah occupy the North America Branch of the Black Order. They, along with the Earl, await the awakening of Alma Karma, the Second Exorcist. Who will awaken first? Will it be Alma or the mysterious Fourteenth who sleeps inside Allen? Meanwhile, Allen is plunged into the memories of Yu Kanda, where Kanda’s past with Alma plays out like one long movie.
THE LOWDOWN: I have previously mentioned that some parts of D.Gray-man remind me of Grant Morrison’s early New X-Men stories. The entirety of Vol. 20 fits that description, but I don’t think that this is a good jump-on point for new readers. If you’ve been reading recent volumes, Vol. 20 will be a blast, with lots of wild fantasy imagery and some good battle scenes. This issue’s flashback involves a sort of coming-of-age story, an example of the character drama that creator Katsura Hoshino does well, but doesn’t do often enough.
POSSIBLE AUDIENCE: Readers looking for superhero action/fantasy in a manga will enjoy D.Gray-man.