Black Cat, vol. 1-2

A former assassin has turned his back on killing for hire and now travels trying to bring justice to the people he meets. No, it’s not Rurouni Kenshin; it’s Black Cat! Though the back stories of both series are similar at first glance (and will probably appeal to the same fans), Yabuki’s work is strong enough to stand on its own and should please readers who prefer their action series with a good heart. Train Heartnet is a cocky, handsome young guy who travels in the company of his mysterious friend Sven. Together they are sweepers, or bounty hunters. When the beautiful thief Rinslet Walker asks them to help her go after the secrets of mob boss Torneo Rudman, the buddies are caught up in a conspiracy to create supersoldiers. Now Train and Sven must rescue a young girl, fend off the mysterious organization Chronos, and try to survive a confrontation with Train’s arch enemy, Creed. This series caught me in the same way Kenshin did–it is well-drawn, nicely plotted, and has strong characters, both male and female. Yabuki has a nice drawing style. It is clean and easy to follow, but detailed and interesting. His handsome male characters spend a good amount of time peering seriously through shaggy bangs, but it works for the characters. A hint of science fiction in the form of nanotechnology and the possibility of supersoldiers gives way to discussion of the manipulation of tao and chi, but the scifi/magical elements only make the story more interesting and offer the promise of a mysterious backstory for Train/Black Cat. Yabuki’s characters are enjoyable to get to know and his female characters, though often pretty, are strong and competent. The series is rated older teen, probably for the level of violence, but it is a recommended purchase for libraries.

Black Cat, vol. 1-2
by Kentaro Yabuki
Volume 1: ISBN: 9781421506050
Volume 2: ISBN: 9781421506067
VIZ Media, 2006

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