Death Note Vol. #02 (Mania.com)

By:Julie Rosato
Review Date: Thursday, November 03, 2005
Release Date: Tuesday, November 08, 2005



Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Tsugumi Ohba / Takeshi Obata
Translated by:Pookie Rolf
Adapted by:

What They Say
Confluence
Light thinks he's put an end to his troubles with the FBI - by using the Death Note to kill off the FBI agents working the case in Japan! But one of the agents has a fiancée who used to work in the Bureau, and now she's uncovered information that could lead to Light's capture. To make matters worse, L has emerged from the shadows to work directly with the task force headed by Light's father. With people pursuing him from every direction, will Light get caught in the conflux?

The Review
With a highly addictive second volume that doesn’t miss a beat, this series continues to deliver a thrilling mystery of the macabre with style.

Packaging:
VIZ uses the original cover art of a shot of L perched in a chair against a white background with light-colored accents and an orange logo. Lifted from the opening illustration for chapter 13, this cover achieves a mood completely opposite from that of volume one: First it was Light and Ryuk over a black background with a great sense of evil and foreboding, but here L sits confidently, the bright embodiment of hope and goodness. The back cover has a picture of Raye Penber’s fiancée, taken from the opening illustration of chapter 10. VIZ uses a really nice cover stock that combines a matte base with glossy logo accents. The author’s note, recap, and table of contents start the book off and there are ads for other Shonen Jump Advanced titles, a Shonen Jump subscription mailer, and survey card in the back. Color plates are not included, as is the usual standard with VIZ’s Jump titles.

Artwork:
As mentioned in the review of volume one, the artwork is very meticulous --consistent and detailed, with clean, smooth lines. Backgrounds are almost always present in some form and are generally given plenty of attention. This title has a lot of solid blacks, shadows and a touch of the gothic, perfect for the dark and mysterious nature of the story. The character designs are distinct and illustrate good range -- and in this volume L and Watari are unmasked! The printing and art reproduction are very crisp; details and fine lines are sharp and the black spaces are solid with no bleed anywhere.

SFX/Text:
SFX are translated and overlaid, as is the standard practice with all of VIZ’s Shonen Jump titles. It is a fine overlay job with fitting and unobtrusive SFX translation, though there are very few of them overall. In-panel text (computer screens, signs, Death Note entries, etc.) is also translated using the overlay method. I did notice one typo/grammatical error that was missed in proofreading, but other than that the translation reads smoothly.

Contents:(please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After the bus-jacking incident used to learn Raye Penber’s name, Light devises a plan to use Raye to kill the remaining FBI agents. Setting him up in the train station, Light forces Raye to request an email from headquarters with the names and photos of all the agents in Japan. Using this information, he enters their names unknowingly onto pages from the Death Note. By the time Raye is allowed to exit the train, the fates of the agents are sealed and Light believes he has neatly removed the FBI threat. Unbeknownst to him however, Raye's ex-FBI fiancée is in town as well and she’s not buying all the accidental deaths.

Due to the deaths of the FBI agents, the task force assigned to the “Kira” case is reduced to a mere handful of people. In order to maintain their trust and safety, L agrees to meet with them directly and use his hotel room as a new base of operations. After heeding a thorough round of precautions, the new task force begins narrowing down their search, based on clues deduced by L. Having already figured out that Kira was one of the first people being probed by the FBI agents, L is able to concentrate their investigation on a few key agents (Raye Penber included) and their connection to several local deaths of minor criminals.

Meanwhile Light runs into Raye’s fiancée at the NPA headquarters. Since she adamantly insists on speaking with the task force, Light suspects she might be dangerous to him. Light coerces her into divulging her theories about the case and he finds that she has come quite close to nailing his identity. He's got to think of a way, and fast, to get this cunning woman to reveal her name so that he can eliminate her. But when word reaches L a few days later that Raye Penber’s fiancée was in Japan and is now missing, he knows the clue to uncovering Kira lies solely with Penber. L re-tasks the group to scrutinize his activities and further investigate those families he was probing early on. To that end hidden cameras and bugs are placed in two suspect households -- including the Yagami's.

Light realizes instantly that he's being watched and he convinces Ryuk to help him hunt down the cameras, but how much longer can he remain ahead of L's startling powers of deduction and out of his grasp?

Geek Love: Watari's Mac Laptop and L's super cute boyish smile.

Comments
This was another excellent volume; this series continues to demand my full attention. With the lengths Light goes to in effort to keep himself safe from detection I can't imagine he has time to think of anything but his existence as "Kira." He's even confident enough to consider taking risks, but having now killed innocent people -- guilty only of their pursuit of him -- the pressure is really on to stay ahead of the law. Though Ryuk played a much smaller role this time around, he continues to amuse me and his background antics provided some much-needed tension breakers. Also in this volume we're introduced a bit more intimately to L and I'm looking forward to getting to know his character better, too.

I'm really enjoying how, after such a strong start, the story hasn't relented just because its premise has been set up. Light continues to uncover powers of the Death Note, weaving his web tighter with each incident, and even though L has expertly deduced Light’s actions and motivations, he is far from winning. New details are constantly fleshing out the story and I really get the feeling of a story building to a climax here. Which is just the right feeling for a book like this; predictability would be its death. So as long as I am still shocked and amazed at the events unfolding, I will clamor for the next volume.



Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: A-
Text/Translatin Rating: A-
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 200
ISBN: 1-4215-0169-4
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left