Fullmetal Alchemist: Vol. 1

Hiromu Arakawa, Author, Hiromu Arakawa, Illustrator
Hiromu Arakawa, Author, Hiromu Arakawa, Illustrator . Viz $9.99 (179p) ISBN 978-1-59116-920-8
Reviewed on: 05/02/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Prebound-Other - 179 pages - 978-1-4177-0001-1
Hardcover - 179 pages - 978-1-4215-1977-7
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This manga inspired the popular series now airing on the Cartoon Network and captures the show's brand of mystical, action-packed adventure. Set in a steam-powered locale that isn't necessarily in our world, the series follows two teenage brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric—one bearing two cybernetic replacement limbs while the other's soul animates a cumbersome suit of armor. The two are government agents wielding prodigious abilities in alchemy who carry out the hazardous assignments issued by their handlers. Their exploits range from thwarting the machinations of a fraudulent and ambitious priest who abuses the faith of his oblivious flock to cunningly extracting an impoverished mining community from the exorbitant clutches of a corrupt official and dealing with a train-hijack situation that owes a serious debt to the film Under Siege . In a market glutted with too many like-minded efforts, Arakawa's work grabs readers and shakes them with simple yet eloquent visuals and a bizarre concept. To give away more would ruin the story, but the snippets of the brothers' origin hint at much darker things to come, and such portents herald fun in upcoming installments. (May)

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