This manga has been making the rounds on YouTube, so when Read Harder prompted me to read a graphic novel/comic/manga if I hadn’t before (I had of course) OR read one in a genre I hadn’t read from before, this manga started calling out to me. I’ve actually read almost every genre I can think of in graphic format, but for some reason I’ve overlooked crime/suspense/thriller. Tracking this down was a bit of a challenge, especially because my library doesn’t have any copies, but luckily it came back into stock on Amazon (I know) in February so I bought it and the next two in the series.
Monster is actually an older manga, with the first issue being published back in 1994, and it completed in 2002, which is a pretty long run for a series that only comprises eighteen volumes. (This edition that I read actually has the first two volumes bound into one, so I will be reading nine of them instead of eighteen.) Monster, at least to start with, follows a young neurosurgeon who is forced to make a choice between saving the life of a child and the life of the man his hospital administration has told him to prioritize, basically at all costs. He chooses the life of the child, and the consequences are huge and strange, and bloody.
This bind-up includes Vol. 1: Herr Doctor Tenma, and Vol. 2: Surprise Party, both of which mostly take place in Germany. Apparently this edition has a different translator than the initial volume does, so that’s interesting. I wonder how different they are.
I didn’t connect much to the characters, but the plot was so fast-moving and crazy stuff kept happening, that I really enjoyed myself. The only thing I don’t really like is the whiff of sexism I got in the portrayal of Tenma’s fiancé at the beginning of the story. There’s something about that character (who is a minor villain) that really rubs me the wrong way. The main character is very sympathetic, though, and the main villain (a serial killer) is scary and interesting at the same time. I’m definitely reading the next two collections at least, and hopefully will finish out the rest of the series sometime soonish. We’ll see! I’m trying to be more responsible about book buying, and these are $20-$25 a pop, if I want to read them. Maybe used ones will start popping up instead on PangoBooks, crossing fingers.
[3.5 stars, rounded up because it got better as it went]
Read Harder Challenge 2023: Read a graphic novel/comic/manga if you haven’t before; or read one that is in a different genre than you normally read.