CLAMP, Author . Tokyopop $14.95 (128p) ISBN 978-1-892213-66-2

This group effort graphic novel follows the exploits of Kazuhiko, a former soldier turned private eye who has been given orders to pick up and deliver Sue, a "clover" (someone with extraordinary powers). The seemingly simple task is anything but, and mayhem and adventure ensue. The first installment of a series created by the all-female team known as Clamp, this volume mostly hints at the larger plot machinations at work: a shadowy governing council; a long-lasting feud; a lost love. Still, with its stylish atmospherics and suggestion of suppressed eroticism, the book manages to fulfill all the basic tenets of "girl manga," a genre known in Japan for its appeal to emotions over action-based thrills. Fight scenes and futuristic techno-gadgetry give the wistfulness some weight, but sentimentality prevails. Luckily, so does visual inventiveness, as evocative imagery offsets cloying moments. Clamp's imaginative use of composition and scale lend a visual snazziness that helps the novel transcend the cuteness of its dewy-eyed waifs and broad-shouldered men with delicate faces. Unfortunately, the bland, clunky typeface is particularly jarring in a comic where empty space and images have been so carefully integrated. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 10/29/2001
Release date: 11/01/2000
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