Last Call Vol. 1

By Vasilis Lolos
136 pages, black and white
Published by Oni Press

Launching a brand-new series requires walking a fine line between plunging the reader directly into the action, and with trying to provide needed background and a feel for the setting. With Vasilis Lolos’s Last Call, the graphic novel format is in some ways both a blessing and a hindrance for that line, but ultimately I think he’s able to keep a sense of balance present.

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Translucent Vol. 1

By Kazuhiro Okamoto
192 pages, black and white
Published by Dark Horse

One thing I’ve noticed about a lot of manga is that the series can often begin with a chapter that feels like (to use a television term) a “pilot episode”—a single story that will be used to convince the publisher that you have what it takes to go to series. Often these comic book “pilots” are stand-alone stories, so even if it doesn’t get picked up for a series you can run the one-off story and call it a day. What surprised me about Dark Horse’s Translucent, then, is that after reading the first chapter I’d mentally written off the rest of the book as an idea that had already run its course, with nothing more to say. I was quite happy, though, to discover that I was absolutely wrong.

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