cover image Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney Official Casebook, Vol. 1

Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney Official Casebook, Vol. 1

. Del Rey Manga, $14.95 (293pp) ISBN 978-0-34550-355-8

Based on a bestselling video game of the same name, this debut volume takes the time-worn manga tradition of turning everything into a battle to a ludicrous extreme. Phoenix Wright is a newly minted defense attorney, insecure in his skills and aided by the ghost of a departed mentor who speaks to him through her little sister. There’s a fairly interesting courtroom sequence early on that has a supernatural twist, but from there the book devolves into yelling matches, asinine plots and a visual style that changes on a dime. The writing implies that the hardest part about being an attorney, the decisive factor in any given case, is who can yell “Objection!” the loudest. Fairly little time is devoted to anything genuinely mysterious or procedural—the story concerns itself with ramen-eating contests and stolen lunches—making this a huge disappointment for anyone expecting real legal action. It works fairly well as a comedy, though, with the occasional self-referential jab (“That’s not cool enough for a main character!” Wright’s spectral teacher chides) and a generally manic tone and pacing. (Sept.)