Monster Vol. #12 (

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Release Date: Monday, December 31, 2007

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Naoki Urasawa
Translated by:Sumiko Katsura
Adapted by:Agnes Yoshida

What They Say
The Nameless Monster, the mysterious picture book which holds the key to unlocking Johan's past, was created by an official from the Czechoslovakian secret police. This startling discovery leads to the mysterious Red Rose Mansion - an estate with a dark and tragic history covered up and sealed away for decades. Meanwhile, the serial murderer in Prague has been identified as a beautiful blond woman. Who could she be and what is her connection to Johan?

The Review
Lunge's on vacation, and he's pursuing his favorite pastime -- Dr. Tenma. His itinerary in the Czech Republic includes researching the picture book The Nameless Monster, tracking down prime murder suspect Detective Jan Suk, and a meeting with the former Czechoslovakian secret police. As Lunge investigates the origins of enigmatic children's book author, Franz Bonaparte, the boys of Pedrov's orphanage are out to prove Grimmer's innocence. But when they find their mysterious blonde woman, will they unwittingly fall into a trap?

Obsessed is an understatement when it comes to describing Lunge's pursuit of Tenma/Johan. You have to wonder how many vacation days he has accumulated given the extent of his search and the number of leads he follows as he goes through Czechoslovakia. The people and places he investigates overlap Tenma's leads, and you have to wonder whether he'll come upon Johan or Tenma first.

We get another opportunity to watch Johan's nasty streak in action as he crushes the soul of the orphan Milosh in the meanest way possible. Urasawa's depiction of the dregs of humanity in the red light district is stark, and it's no wonder Milosh winds up at the end of his rope. Tenma and Grimmer are paired up again for the rescue of Milosh, and it is Grimmer that steals the spotlight as he reveals more about his lost past and present struggles.

Grimmer is easily one of the most memorable people in this series. His deadly "Magnificent Steiner" episodes notwithstanding, there's something extremely poignant about this complex character. Despite his robbed emotions, he has an aura of nobility, and his actions go beyond selfless when he offers his solution to clear Suk's name.

Volume 12 extras include a handy three-page diagram detailing the connections between the different characters and ads for other Viz titles.

Mania Grade: A
Art Rating: A-
Packaging Rating: B
Text/Translatin Rating: B
Age Rating: 16 & Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 216
ISBN: 978-1-4215-0971-6
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Monster