Creator: Nobuyuki Anzai
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $7.99
MƒR v13
Reviewed by Michael Aronson

ìLet the final battle of the War Games commence! As the members of Team MAR go into battle, each must defeat the chess opponent that stands before them in addition to overcoming their own personal demons. Insecure Jack must prove once and for all that he is worthy of his fatherís memory. Alviss struggles with the dark allure of immortality, while he must fight Rolan, the only opponent heís lost to in these games. And things really get going when Dorothy takes on an opponent unlike any sheís faced before. Meanwhile, Alan is shocked to discover that he must battle an old childhood friend!î

Broom of Zephyrus! Howling Demon! Crazy Quilt! Attack, attack, attack! Sometimes I wonder if Anzai goes to a random words generator to get inspiration for the special spells the characters launch at each other. But I have to admit, regardless of his source of inspiration, his illustrations jump off the page. Itís not art Iíd hang on my wall, but itís clean, bold, and so explosive it practically jumps off the page.

Chimera, both with and without mask, is a gruesome foe that finds new and grotesque transformations to gain an edge in battle. Halloween may be a pumpkin head dressed in a cloak, but his expressions matched with the silhouettes of his past incarnation make him even creepier. This book borders on an older teen rating, but segues out right before the scenes get much darker. This is good to make it more age-accessible, but an impressive bit of characterization (well, the only characterization Iíve come across in the last few volumes) benefits from the dark streak so highlight the tragedy of some of the villains.

Sadly, the preview text doesnít make the heroes come across any less flat than cardboard, and with battle scene after battle scene, there isnít much of a plot to be found. But for a triple helping of action, MAR sure is pretty to behold. This sure would make for a wild video game.




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