A Midnight Opera, Act 1

Hanzo Steinbach, Author
Hanzo Steinbach, Author . Tokyopop $9.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-59816-265-3
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The flamboyant decadence of the rock music scene merges with the even more lush harmonics of grand opera in this overwrought European manga. Einblick DeLaLune is a superstar rocker with a darker-than-average secret: he is actually a centuries-old werewolf who's trying to deny his heritage and find love with a beautiful human woman. He's tired of being a monster. Unfortunately, as his unrepentant brother Leroux reminds him, changing identities is not that simple. When Ein gave up his leadership role, the werewolf tribe fell into the control of a murderous witch. Meanwhile, the equally malevolent Cardinal LaCroix has been chasing werewolves for centuries and now has the lovers in his sights. By the end of this first volume, Ein realizes that he can't avoid a supernatural battle. Steinbach's jittery, sketchy ectomorphic figures are elongated and twisted incredibly as his characters fight and cavort through Paris; it's difficult to believe that even non-human flesh could stretch that far. He does have a flair, though, for dramatic layout, massing darkness on the pages, and action scenes that are visually convincing in their immediate energy. It's a promising debut. (Nov.)

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