CAVEAT: This review contains some spoilers. Read at your own risk!
Barrage had me from the very first page! Any manga that can show interplanetary war and make me care in a single page is going to be good.
The story is clever in the way introduces our hero Astro. All we know to start with is: He’s vey young, he’s got kids at home to take care of, and he’s losing his job. There are a lot of ways you could take that information, but probably most don’t lead to “hero.”
However, Astro turns out to be every bit the hero. In fact, the plot kickstarts on the fact that Astro looks just like the selfish Prince Barrage, who theoretically should be the "hero" during this crises.
I know what you’re thinking, “It’s the Prince And The Pauper.” Good guess! Wrong...but good guess. There are twists that keep it off that well-traveled road. And the first twist is Prince Barrage dies!
The Prince doesn’t die in a manner befitting his station. He’s dispatched in a brutally effective panel. The life of the titular character proves nasty, brutish, and short. It’s a perfect symbol for a whole planet at war.
After Barrage dies, Astro steps into the role of Prince quickly, and he's even able to wield “The Orgue,” a magic talisman that proves he is worthy to rule the planet.
The designs of creatures, people, and objects are pretty strong. For example, the Archduke of Endora is a masterpiece.
Volume 1 ends strong with appearance of a female character with perhaps a hint of a romantic subplot. Though her identity is never revealed in volume 1, clearly a plot is being set up that I want read.
This manga is off to a stellar start, and I can't wait to read the next one! Luckily I won't have to wait long, because the next volume comes out next month, 04/02/13!
Click HERE to read a free free preview.
by Robert McCarthy