THE REFORMED (ADVANCE REVIEW)

Posted On May - 19 - 2008
  RELEASED BY:   DEL REY
  AUTHOR / ART:  

CHRISTOPHER HEART / ANZU

  FORMAT:   WESTERN / B&W
  PAGES:   170
  RATING:  

OT

  RELEASE DATE:  

06/03/2008

  REVIEW DATE:   05/19/2008
  REVIEWED BY:   HOLLY ELLINGWOOD



First let me say that since the rise of original English language manga (commonly referred to as OEL), I have been waiting for one that does a solid job of looking, feeling and reading like a manga. The Reformed is the closest I have yet found, much to my delight. A gritty vampire story about violence and redemption, it has a film noir flavor while reflecting a manga sensibility all in one.

Giancarlo must kill to continue on an endless eternal existence of solitude and death. He is a vampire. beautiful, alluring, and utterly lethal. But a chance meeting in a dark ally with the pretty Jenny may be love at first sight – and a possible death warrant for both of them. The handsome vampire tries to change his ways as he woos and attempts to win Jenny’s heart. But with everything there is a price to pay. A love between a vampire and a human is impossible yet Giancarlo must try for their is something within him that has awakened since meeting Jenny. And this love will see him damned by human and demonic alike. So begins his story.

A forbidden love, a serial killer on the loose, vampires hunting him and a detective trying to stake him has almost all sides against Giancarlo. That is, except Jenny. Yet during their short time together he has not revealed his true self and as the manga comes to a close, her reaction will set into motion a string of events that will change Giancarlo’s world forever. It is an intriguing and violent tale overtop of the more compelling story about a man (albeit a vampire) looking to change despite the tragedy that his very nature is what he can never change, no matter how much he longs too. Can love change even the damned? And will that change be for the better?

Christopher Hart has a long list of a long list of writing accomplishments to his credit including TV, Blondie comic strips, MAD Magazine and how to draw manga guides. The Reformed however marks his manga debut. He has given readers a solid film noir meets vampire genre that holds a shocking twist at the end of the book. He manages to grasp fairly well the greater use of silences and imagery for story telling in manga, toning down unnecessary narration which is often employed in Western graphic novels. Meanwhile Anzu offers a vampire that would please Anne Rice fans, beautiful, seductive, yet aloof. The cover, back cover and inside character gallery illustrations in particular are gorgeous. The OEL manga is darker with more line use than regular manga, but it suits the fill noir atmosphere and gritty nature of the story well. The manga also has an afterword from both the writer and the artist.


IN SUMMARY:
The Reformed is a gritty tale about a vampire in love seeking redemption at a terrible  cost.

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