Old Boy vol. 1
by Garon Tsuchiya & Nobuaki Minegishi
Dark Horse, $12.95
Old Boy is pretty much what I'm looking for in a seinen manga. The story is straighforward: an unnamed man, having been held captive for ten years, is released onto the streets of Tokyo. Not knowing why he was a captive or who arranged his captivity, he starts to put a life together with the aim of the one thing he has left: revenge. There's not much of the 'revenge' component yet, as this first volume is mostly set-up; but this is obviously a slow build story and the revenge will surely be that much sweeter when it arrives.
While I hold out to see if Tsuchiya's story will pay off, I can definitely recommend the art by Minegishi. In layout and pacing it compares favorably to Goseki Ikegami; he is able to use an eleven-panel page to give a simultaneous sense of timelessness and time passing, or break out a two-page spread at the moment of maximum impact. The backgrounds are often detailed to the point of gorgeousness and the figures are expressive without veering into cartoonishness.
If future volumes can hold up the level of quality and move the story forward, Old Boy should make for a worthwhile ride over its eight volumes.
Rating: 3.5 (of 5).