Creator: Katsura Hoshino
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Older Teen
Genres: Action, Horror
RRP: $7.99
D.Gray-Man v1
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

“Set in a fictional 19th century England, D.Gray-Man is the story of Allen Walker, a 15-year-old boy who roams the Earth in search of Innocence. Washed away to unknown parts of the world after The Great Flood, Innocence is the mysterious substance used to create weapons that obliterate demons known as akuma. A born exorcist, Walker’s primary anti-akuma weapon is the cross that’s embossed on his red and disfigured left hand, which contains Innocence. But not only does Walker destroy akuma, he sees the akuma hiding inside a person’s soul! Together with his fellow exorcists fighting under the command of the Black Order, Walker leads the battle against the Millennium Earl, the evil being out to destroy mankind.”

Like all good manga of the monster-hunting breed, D.Gray-Man has the formula down pat: hero with mysterious self-inflicted curse, manipulative villain with purely evil motive, secret society to recruit said hero and explanation for source of the supernatural and superhuman. But is that all there is to DGM? Considering we’ve yet to learn what the title means, then so far the answer is “yes”.

Of course, this is but the opening chapter. The premise is sound and the designs for Allen’s powers and the akuma he fights are rather inspired, and the background information gets most of the background information out of the way – perhaps a little too soon. I’m not one who likes waiting on dangling questions, but I do think DGM could’ve spent more time advancing the plot before filling in the pieces of mystery. We need to see Allen in a bit of a struggle for his life and his values before we can start to care about his past and his trials. Aside from a slick design, there’s not much to him yet.

Despite a wacky name, it seems like the Millennium Earl will be a lot of fun as an antagonist and will offer new challenges for the Order to tackle. The set up is sound and the engine is revving, hopefully volume two releases the breaks.

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3 July 2006
Fullmetal Alchemist v8

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