D.Gray-Man Vol. #19 (Mania.com)

By:Chris Kirby
Review Date: Thursday, December 02, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, November 02, 2010

As the plot thickens, the interest increases.

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Katsura Hoshino
What they say:
Following a brutal battle with a Level 4 akuma, Allen seems to be undergoing an odd and disturbing change. Meanwhile, a new breed of Exorcist is introduced at Black Order headquarters and, at Asia Branch, Kanda learns some disturbing things about his own status in the Black Order’s Exorcist operations. Needless to say, Allen and his friends are ill prepared to deal with the simultaneous appearance of the servants of the Millennium Earl all over the world!
After a quick finish to the arc concerning Timothy, the accommodator known as the Phantom G, we quickly get the sense that something is wrong with the whole scenario.  First off, the battle is won by a mysterious individual who shows up and simply absorbs the Akuma into his hand.  While this is an efficient way to deal with the pests, it raises a lot of questions like who is this guy? and how did he do that?  After a nice tidy up where the fate of the orphanage is taken care of due to Timothy’s tricks we find ourselves back at HQ for some recovery time.
This part of the volume deals heavily with the jokes and fun that the members of the Black Order have when they aren’t on missions.  While the antics are certainly fun the art takes a bit of a dive as things become very hard to distinguish.  Granted, this is because of the fast movements of the comedy but it kind of puts a damper on everything as you spend less time enjoying the fun and more time trying to figure out what it is you are exactly looking at.
After the fun is over we meet a new group of exorcists called Third Exorcists of whom the mysterious man from before is a part of. By introducing these characters and explaining who they are and why/how they do what they do is very interesting as it adds a deeper level to the mythos of the series.  We are also introduced to the back story of Kanda and boy is it trippy.  The secrets that have been held by the Black Order as a whole start getting some light shed on them and, because we are familiar with the characters and their motivations, certainly throws a wrench to the matter and can lead down a very promising path that will only make the series more enjoyable in the long run.
The other big thing in this volume to mention is that the Noah clan receives a new member and hints to who the Fourteenth is starts gaining a little more focus.  The Noah put into motion the next phase of their plan and it ties in nicely with what we have been learning throughout the volume and leaves us at a point that definitely raises some big questions that I want answered.  This tactic of ending volumes at seemingly the right time is an annoyance with most series but is entirely intentional because it is meant to want the reader to anticipate the next volume, and this it achieves wonderfully.
Halfway through this volume is where D.Gray-Man switched to a monthly publication and it is nice to see that the pacing of the story has not suffered.  It seems that a little more time is found to explore some facets of the mythos without feeling drawn out.  I really enjoyed the twists the story takes here as it seems that we are only getting to the real meat of the story which not only helps keep the readers interest in this long series but makes one enjoy it just a little bit more than just as a fun time passer.  Definitely another solid volume in the series that doesn’t hit new heights of genius and originality but keep things going right on track, just how we like it.

Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: C+
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 9781421537733
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left