As the second volume of Until Death Do Us Part opens, blind swordsman/ex-criminal Mamoru and his allies in the Element Network have successfully protected tween psychic Haruka from her would-be kidnappers. However, the vigilantes have little time to rest on their laurels. Other forces have learned of Hakura’s gift, and would see her exploited to their benefit.
One of these forces is the Republic of Galboa, a terrorist nation whose ambassador to Japan—the crime boss Edge Turus—uses his position to mask his criminal activities. The police dare not go after him for fear of starting an international incident, but that is no obstacle for the Elemental Network when Edge Turus declares Hakura to be his property. Simultaneously, as Mamoru begins to cut a bloody swath through Tokyo’s criminal underground, many in the Element Network start to question the wisdom of allowing a violent ex-criminal a chance at redemption in their service.
Those who enjoyed the first volume of Until Death Do Us Part will find more of the same sword-swinging combat and high-tech espionage in the second book. Hiroshi Takashige is a great writer and this volume contains some of the finest action sequences this critic has seen in any work of graphic literature. But this book is not all action; Takashige also possesses a gift for character development and a good ear for dialogue.
Every supporting character in Until Death Do Us Part is memorable, and many of them have their own subplots. One of the most interesting characters is Sierra, a soldier who joined the Element Network after losing her young daughter to a terrorist attack. Sierra takes on the role of surrogate mother to Haruka, the young psychic being the same age that Sierra’s daughter would have been, had she lived. Another supporting character of note is Genda, a police officer whose investigations into Mamoru’s attacks on the Yakuza put him on the trail of the Element Network.
Takashige’s script is matched in quality and complexity by the work of artist Double-S. The amount of detail packed into every page of this book is truly astonishing, yet things never feel cluttered, even when speed-lines mix with blood spiraling away from Mamoru’s targets.
Like the first volume, this book is rated OT for Older Teens, and it earns that rating handily. While there is less sexualized content than in the first volume, this book does feature quite a lot of bloodshed, as well as a few limbs that are severed from their bodies. The emotional complexity of the characters also lends itself well to an older audience, but high school students shouldn’t have any trouble with the material.