Written by Jd Banks
Every dark story has depths of sorrow, implied sub-plots, and brooding characters. For Sword of the Dark Ones, there’s a talking sword. Sword of the Dark Ones is a manga rendition of the popular novel, Ragnarok, created by Yasui Kentaro and re-invented by manga-ka, Kotobuki Tsukasa.
Lucky for readers with little or no knowledge of the original Ragnarok series, the entire manga stands alone. Sword of the Dark Ones draws the best in character development, story-telling, and artwork in an action-packed manga. The manga centers on Leroy Schwartz, an ex-mercenary with exceptional skills, in a time where mercenaries maintain order over man-eating monsters, or Dark Ones. With an exhausted storyline, Sword of the Dark Ones manages to deliver the type of manga difficult to find on the local bookstore shelves.
Sword of the Dark Ones lands the reader into a zone filled with strategic mystery. Characters like Leroy Schwartz give the manga its dark and shrouded edge. The reader knows nothing about Leroy except his blunt personality and dark clothing. Throughout Volume 1, little is learned about Leroy besides the tidbits of people he loathes and amazing abilities that hint to a bigger picture. Ragnarok, the talking sword carried by Leroy, seems more lively and open than Leroy, but like its master, Ragnarok is also very mysterious with nothing to contribute to any past storylines. The men and women (and Dark Ones) that wander about the formal plot offer more explanation of their histories than the main characters.
Aside from the remarkable talent of hiding the characters’ pasts, Sword of the Dark Ones holds top quality artwork from start to finish. Every panel in the manga functions smoothly in reading, transitioning scenes and locations with ease.
The major strength in artistic quality for the manga is its implications of foreign styles. The heavy lines in the renderings remind me of manwha, or Korean graphic novels, which are known for showcasing art with strong strokes and thick lines. The layout of every page associates some type of knowledge with American comic books, especially with the large scenes confined to boxes and linear limits. However different Sword of the Dark Ones appears, like any other Japanese manga, the background space is utilized minimally to emphasis the characters.
The first volume of Sword of the Dark Ones is promising, and if you don’t mind minor nudity and adult themes, this manga can give any reader a run for a dark story. Of course, talking swords aren’t included.
Story by Yasui Kentaro
By Kotobuki Tsukasa
Design by Tasa
Rating: 10 of 10, the first of anything to get the top rating from Jade.
All in all: Probably one of the best manga you can pick up if you are interested in high quality shonen work And, yes, this great manga is $9.99 from CMX.
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