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20TH CENTURY BOYS, vols. 1 & 2 by Naoki Urasawa
Viz Media, 2009, 210 pages, 978-1-59116-922-2, Paperback, $12.99
Viz Media, 2009, 206 pages, 978-1-59116-926-0, Paperback, $12.99

Genre: Manga/Science Fiction/Mystery


Kenji lives an ordinary life running a King Mart with his mother and looking after his sister's infant daughter. Excitement isn't exactly a part of his day to day life, and he certainly doesn't have the time to go looking for it. But when a domino effect of unexplained events begins -- including the disappearance of a university professor, the death of an old school friend, and the sudden outbreak of a viral epidemic -- Kenji finds himself just as involved as anyone else. Central to all of these occurances is a symbol that Kenji finds familiar but can't quite identify, and a cult whose leader is known only as the "friend." Somehow these events are tied into Kenji's childhood, but after so many years he can't quite figure out how, exactly, it all fits together.


This manga starts out a little slow, but by the end of volume two, you really begin to see where it's all headed, and that destination looks pretty exciting. So far this story has all of the best elements of an Urasawa manga -- an unexpected protagonist, a complex and interweaving plot, extensive background elements, and sinister overtones. Yet for all of its familiar aspects, 20th Century Boys feels as though it's definitely going to be different, and I'm looking forward to that.

Read the full review at The Reader Eclectic.


March 2014

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