[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Words and Art by: Shiori Teshirogi
From mangaka Shiori Teshirogi (Saint Seiya: The Lost Canvas) comes a new series starring Batman and the Justice League. Currently being serialized in the monthly Japanese anthology Red, the story focuses on a young boy named Rui who travels from Japan to Gotham City to find his missing parents. He stumbles his way into a super villain stand off and gets mixed up with some Gotham lowlifes. He is saved by Batman and things are off and running from there. Rui teams up with his hero, Jim Gordon and Gotham City’s finest and finally, the Justice League.
It is cheap to say that everything is good here, but almost everything is good here. Teschirogi’s manga version of the DC icons is spot on. The art is just delightful. I read the English translation and while, that is good, the art does the talking.
The depictions of these characters we all love is really a love letter. There is nothing even the grouchiest of readers can see here to dislike. Sure, Hal and Barry are smirking, but isn’t that we expect from them? Don’t you think of Hal Jordan sleeping with a smirk? I do.
Not everything is smirks and fancy necklaces on Aquaman. Rui is in Gotham City. His parents are missing. He is in real danger. Again, Teshirogi lets her pencil strokes bring the danger and the tension. She reminds readers what Gotham City would be like for anyone who ends up there from out of town regardless if that person is from Japan or Kansas. Here is snippit from the French Translation. Again, the words are irrelevant here. The images are everything.
This is not for everyone. In general, Manga has a specific audience. If you want your heroes to brood and your inker to break his or her arm laying on thick colors that jump off the page, this is not going to be for you. There are some HUGE plot holes in this. Jim Gordon would never do anything he does in this book. Not a chance. The dialogue falls on its face a few times, but that might just be the translation.
This is something DC needed to do. This is a way to broaden their reach around the world and they need to find something for middle readers. They have done an excellent job with older readers and an amazing job with the young readers. There are plenty of 11 year olds out there who want to read something that feels dangerous, but is really safe. Pick this up and enjoy it. There is an epic battle coming in Volume 2. I am first in line.