Volume 3 of Gangsta continues to impress: beautiful art, layered story, and a host of fascinating characters mix with a heady blend of action to create the perfect manga. Volume 3 gives us the history of Nicolas and Worrick as well as much needed information about the Twilights. In effect, it is a lot of story payoff for the previous, action-heavy, volumes.
Plot: Worrick remembers his past, living in a sheltered mansion as the unwanted second son of a city Lord (one of the ‘family’). He’s given a Twilight, Nicolas, as a bodyguard. It’s an insult – a child to protect a child, by a father whose only attention to his offspring is to beat him. As anti-Twilight protests involve Worrick’s family, the boy will teach Nicolas to read, to sign, and to want to live. But Nicolas is unstable and will prove just why Twilights are feared as monsters. Meanwhile, in the present, the murders of Twilights continue and Worrick knows it is only a matter of time before a family-less ‘ronin’ like Nicolas is targeted and erased. Allie, meanwhile, has a secret of her own…
While there is a LOT of info dumping in this volume, it was greatly needed to establish the relationships and history of the main characters. I really appreciated that Nicolas and Worrick’s relationship wasn’t one of mutual respect and their history is an ugly one. As well, the startling reveal about Allie was quite a surprise and says a lot about an author who can unfold a story so well. There’s still much to learn and read about the characters and world: this isn’t simply an excuse for mindless violence.
The illustrations continue to impress. Personalities are well drawn and easy to interpret. From bittersweet pain on Worrick’s usually affable face to the drawn out junkie feel of Nicolas. Even scarier, the last panel of Nicolas smiling was truly terrifying and says a lot about what is to come in volume 4.
Gangsta continues to be one of my favorite manga this year. A complete surprise and one that I eagerly look forward to with each published volume.
Reviewed from an ARC.