Dark Angel (small version) Vol. #04 - Mania.com

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  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: CPM Press
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 158664942-6
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Left to Right

Dark Angel (small version) Vol. #04

By Mike Dungan     November 26, 2004
Release Date: November 01, 2004

Dark Angel (small version) Vol.#04
© CPM Press

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Kia Asamiya
Translated by:Mutsumi Masuda, C.B. Cebulski and Kia Asamiya, Laura Jackson and Yoko Kobayashi
Adapted by:

What They Say
Dark must cross a vast and extremely dangerous desert to go to Oukoku, the mystical city that will solve the mysteries that have been plaguing him since he became a Phantom Saint. When a gang of thieves steals his sword and his traveling companion, Kyo, Dark must compete against them to win back his posssessions. The problem is that Dark promised to never take a life, and the only way to win back his sword and friend is to kill his opponent!

The Review
The Review: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Dark, the young Phantom Saint of the Red Phoenix is travelling to Oukoku with his companion, the sexy if tiny fairy Kyo. They are now crossing a vast desert, and in the midst of a thick fog, Dark encounters both an M1 Abrams battle tank and a young woman. Dark, who has never seen a tank before, wonders at the enormous metal beast. The woman is gathering water for her village which is in the middle of a battle zone. When F-18 Hornets pierce the sky overhead, Dark finally realizes he isn't in Kansas any more.

Returning from the strange land, Dark and Kyo resume their journey. In the midst of the desert they encounter an imposing man all in a black cape and cowl, with his face covered except for his eyes. He convinces Dark that they need to travel together if Dark wants to escape the desert alive. Unfortunately, they are attacked by bandits known as the Gairana. Kyo is captured and they make off with Dark's sword. The only way to get them back is to fight them. The rules are simple: die and you lose, kill your opponent and you win. Dark has sworn to never take a life, which makes things tough for him. When Dark and the stranger finally catch up with the Gairana at their mobile coliseum, the find three more people wanting to fight the Gairana; two men and a woman. The five adventurers face off against the five Gairana. Meanwhile, Sekka, a wingless fairy, attempts to rescue Kyo while everyone's attention is elsewhere.

In this volume of Kia Asamiya's Dark Angel, the cast is reduced considerably, making it far easier to keep up with the story. The side trip to the war zone seems to be a literary device Asamiya likes to indulge in. Anyone familiar with his Silent Moebius will recognize it's similarity with the story of one of the AMP traveling to the past. It's a welcome change from the main storyline. There's even quite a bit of humor when the caped stranger joins up with Dark and Kyo. Asamiya's art is a highly individual style full of sharp, angular eyes, tons of screentone, and dynamic compositions. It's a style that people either love or hate, and I'll admit I love his art.

The translation was handled by no less than five people, including Kia Asamiya himself. This volume reads much more naturally then the previous volume, no doubt due to the efforts of Laura Jackson and Yoko Kobayashi, possibly the best English adaptation/translation team in the US. There are a few pages of character profiles and a story summary to help bring the reader back up to speed. The front cover is a beautiful image of Dark and Kyo striking a pose, while the sun behind them attempts to part the clouds. The back cover features Gyokuko and his fairy companion Sekka.

Dark Angel was originally published by CPM as a series of single chapter comics around 1999, and as such, the art is flipped and all sound effects are translated and retouched into English. Despite the fact that CPM was known for poor art reproduction at the time, it appears they able to improve the art reproduction from volume 3 to 4 as they were able to significantly reduce the moiring of screentones that marred the previous volume. This is not to say it looks great, only that it looks considerably better than in volume 3. Dark Angel was originally collected and published in larger format books. Since the flipped artwork is retained in this version, there is no advantage to repurchasing if you already have the first edition books. However, if you're new to Asamiya's work and would like to purchase it in a cheaper version, then give this one a try.


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