Friday, April 2, 2010

I Reads You Review: DEADMAN WONDERLAND, VOL. 1


Creators: Jinsei Kataoka (writer) and Kazuma Kondou (artist) with Ray Yoshimoto (translation) and Bryce P. Coleman (English adaptation)
Publishing Information: TOKYOPOP, B&W, paperback, 246 pages, $10.99 (US), $13.99 CAN
Ordering Numbers: ISBN: 978-1-4278-1741-9 (ISBN-13)

After his classmates are slaughtered before his very eyes, 14-year-old Ganta Igarashi is sentenced to death for the murders. Ganta is imprisoned at Deadman Wonderland, Japan’s only fully privately owned and operated prison. Deadman Wonderland is also a tourist prison, where visitors can enjoy the spectacle of inmates competing in death sports. The prison guards are brutal, and the other inmates are the worst of the worst.

But Ganta is innocent, and the real killer, the mysterious “Red Man,” has also found his way to Deadman Wonderland. How and why is Ganta connected to this shadowy figure? Aided by a mysterious albino girl named Shiro, Ganta may live long enough to answer that question.

Just the fact that Deadman Wonderland, Vol. 1 is set in a prison is enough to give a reader the chills, but the execution of this story also delivers chills and thrills. Deadman Wonderland (originally published in Japan’s Sh┼Źnen Ace) combines elements of the dystopian science fiction sports film (Death Race 2000, Rollerball) and the prison drama – unusual elements for a comic book (or maybe not strange in the world of manga).

As executed by creators, writer Jinsei Kataoka and artist Kazuma Kondou, Deadman Wonderland is a story that is both a quest for survival and a journey of self-discovery, with requisite shonen action and super powers. Kataoka composes his script as an exercise in dropping just enough crumbs to keep his readers chasing after the mysteries of Deadman Wonderland; the action scenes, fights, and confrontations are candy to satisfy and keep us interested. Kondou’s art is stylish, but has plenty of substance. The compositions are strong, and the contents of each panel are designed for maximum dramatic impact. In a John Buscema-like way, Kondou is looking to grab the reader with this story.

Deadman Wonderland is a high-quality shonen manga. It is dark without being too edgy and has enough imagination to deserve the word “Wonderland” in its title.

A-

[This book also contains a preview of Hanako and the Terror of Allegory, Vol. 1.]


Buy Deadman Wonderland Volume 1


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