Buy Digital: Top DC Graphic Novels

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American Vampire Vol. 1
Batman The Court of Owls Vol. 1
All-Star Superman
Batman The Long Halloween
Batman Dark Victory
Batman: Earth One Vol. 1
Batman Year One
Arkham Asylum
Daytripper Vol. 1
All-Star Batman and Robin
Green Lantern Rebirth
Batman Knightfall
Superman Secret Identity
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 1
Before Watchmen Comedian Rorschach
Batman Inc. Vol. 1 Deluxe
Watchmen
Infinite Crisis
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The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 2
Identity Crisis
Kingdom Come
Superman Birthright
Batman The Dark Knight Returns
Flashpoint
Before Watchmen Nite Owl Dr Manhattan
Fables Vol. 1
Before Watchmen MinutemenSilk Spectre
Sandman Vol. 1
Blackest Night
Superman for Tomorrow
The Death of Superman
Superman: Earth One Vol. 2
Before Watchmen Ozymandias Crimson Corsair
Batman and Robin Vol. 1
Batman Inc. Vol. 1
Superman Last Son of Krypton
The Killing Joke
Superman: Earth One Vol. 1
V for Vendetta
Batman The Dark Knight Strikes Again
The Girl with TheDragon Tattoo Book 1
Final Crisis
Justice League Vol. 1
Punk Rock Jesus
Mar 122013
 

TokyoBabylonOmnibus1

As the resident manga maniac, allow me to present TOKYO BABYLON: a lost-license CLAMP masterpiece, originally published in English by Tokyopop before being resurrected by the ever-lovely Dark Horse for a well-deserved second life.

This comic is many things. It is both supernatural drama and romantic farce. It studies its characters with the intensity of a quirky indie film and yet still offers ghostly action sequences and pentagram-barriers—as if Gus Van Sant directed an episode of SUPERNATURAL. It was first written in 1991, narratively and philosophically ahead of its time in so many ways that its themes are relevant even now.

It also uses cultural magic as a thematic device. Look at your favoriate comics, folks: magical characters hold sway over us. The John Constantines and Doctor Stranges of the comic book world fascinate, conjuring spells that aid their cause but never break the rules of whatever given universe they’re tied to. That motivation laced into ability, the fact that Zatanna could probe the barriers of reality but chooses to interact with people instead, gives magical characters the kind of dramatic conflict that heroic straight-lacers are often wont to find.

The main character here is Subaru Sumeragi, clan leader and frequent user of onmyojitsu (yin-yang magic). Subaru lives in Tokyo with his twin sister, Hokuto. The two are often accompanied by Seishirou Sakurazuka, a kindly “veteranarian” who is regularly on hand to offer advice, claims to be in love with Subaru, and—when the situation requires—uses his own much-less-benign brand of onmyojitsu.

The best thing about TOKYO BABYLON is its genre-defying development. We begin with a “Young Romance”-ish summer special rife with humor and facepalming, and somehow end with… well, I hesitate to spoil anything, but let’s say that the scope of this magnificent story involves secret pentagram scars, sealed bets, murders, lost innocence (or should I say slaughtered innocence?), sacrifice, strange acceptance, and the truly morbid nature of cherry blossom trees. Its protagonists, as obvious bearers of the yin and yang, embody ancient symbols against a background of city life. It brings violence to places of previously sitcom-level simplicity. Its vacant end is Vertigo-worthy perfection.

Shop the manga section at Meltdown and receive 10% off when you select a MANGA DOESN’T SUCK-worthy title.

For more comic ramblings, follow me on twitter: @junkstory
#comicgeeksagainstmangadiscrimination

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