Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: FIRE PUNCH Volume 1


MANGAKA: Tatsuki Fujimoto
TRANSLATION: Christine Dashiell
LETTERS: Snir Aharon
EDITOR: Jennifer LeBlanc
ISBN: 978-1-4215-9717-1; paperback (January 2018); Rated “M” for “Mature”
208pp, B&W, $12.99 U.S., $17.99 CAN, £8.99 UK

Fire Punch is a science fiction and action manga from creator Tatsuki Fujimoto.  The series began publication in the Japanese manga magazine, Shonen Jump+, in April 2016.  [The series' original Japanese publication has apparently ended in January.]  VIZ Media recently started Fire Punch's English-language publication in a series of graphic novels under its VIZ Signature imprint.

Fire Punch introduces Agni and Luna are siblings.  Like “the Ice Witch,” they are among “The Blessed,” people born with abilities to perform miracles.  Not all of “The Blessed” are friendly.  Some are murderers, like the man who destroys Agni and Luna's village.

Fire Punch, Vol. 1 (Chapters 1 to 8) opens on a world of ice and cold.  It wasn't always that way, until “the Ice Witch” made it so.  Agni walks this world, an instrument of revenge – a walking thing of fire and regeneration.  In the city of Behemdorg, he will find his target.

The Fire Punch manga opens with surprises.  It is a tough-minded, dystopian thriller that goes in unexpected directions.

Fire Punch Graphic Novel Volume 1 introduces a world that is icy and snow-covered, but this unrelenting whiteness is not “as pure as the driven snow.”  Creator Tatsuki Fujimoto offers four chapters that are edgy and a narrative that is so mercurial that it challenges the author's breakdown of this story into chapters.  Initially, Fire Punch feels likes a juvenile fantasy, but it takes a violent turn and becomes a cold-blooded thriller.

I think that the characters will dominant this narrative, which is now dominated by this series' muscular settings and tough environments.  These characters are dangerous, and Fujimoto delights in making everything about them unexpected.  When it comes to surprises, this story continually delivers a Fire Punch to the gut.  Seriously, Fire Punch is dark, invigorating, and startling and it makes an early bid as one of the best comics of 2018.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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