Creator: Kentaro Yabuki
Publisher: Viz
Age Rating: Teen
Genre: Action
RRP: $7.99
Black Cat v11 [II]
Reviewed by Robert Murray

This volume of Black Cat is one long battle between two operatives from Chronos and the team of Train, Sven, Kyoko, and Eve. Normally, this kind of action spectacular would come at the expense of character development and interaction. Not so with this installment of Black Cat, as Kentaro Yabuki proves once again that he is extremely deft at using extreme situations to further flesh out his engaging characters. Plus, his manga style is easy to read for an old otaku fogey like me, without many of the sidebars and fluffy wasted panels that usually annoy me in other titles. Black Cat flows quickly yet smoothly, moving throughout the extended battles with the grace of a ballet dancer. Plus, the villains are sweet candy for comic junkies who look for charismatic baddies to hate. Number VIII, Baldor, is an impulsive bad-ass who wields a giant ball and chain called a heimdall (think Go Go in Kill Bill with a goatee). Number IV, Kranz, is Daredevil with a Harvey Birdman helmet, but don�t let this funny construction diminish the threat he presents for Train and the gang! In the midst of the heated fight between foes, we have two interesting plot developments to keep an eye on. First, there�s Kyoko�s internal conflict as she fights her deadly desire to kill her opponents. Secondly, Eve unleashes some formidable powers on Number IV, displaying what the excess nanomachines can do for her and further developing the connection between her and Dr. Tearju. All in all, this volume of Black Cat has it all: thrills, laughs, effective drama, and a well-paced battle royale.

The exciting pace starts at page one and doesn�t let up until the very end, creating a comic that reads quickly but isn�t rushed. Kyoko�s extended injection into this volume adds welcome fun into many of the serious proceedings, especially her moment of truth in the battle with the Chronos Numbers. Chapter 102 is titled "Angels and Devils," which is appropriate due to the Looney Tunes-like battle between the Angelic and Devilish Kyokos. She�s such a stinker! As Kyoko charges full bore toward Kranz to deliver her death blow, she sees images of her past, as she is literally programmed to kill. Then, the little manifestations of her emotions do verbal battle, which results in... I won�t spoil it for you, but the sparring between the tiny angel and devil act to favorably lighten the mood of the manga as well as display the characteristic immaturity of Kyoko. She is definitely the most intriguing of the characters examined in this issue, but there were also some further insights into Train as well as some of the supporting characters. Train�s child-like body is too weak to handle his immense skills, Charden displays a soft side with his honorable affections for Kyoko, and Rinslet reveals a potential link between Eve and Dr. Tearju, the only person who can revert Train back to his adult state. Yes, volume 11 is full of action and plot development, giving Black Cat fans just what they�ve come to expect.

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14 October 2008
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