cover image Black and White, Volume 3

Black and White, Volume 3

Taiyo Matsumoto. Viz Media, $15.95 (207pp) ISBN 978-1-56931-432-6

Harrowing chase scenes, brutal violence and surreal dream sequences punctuate this graphic novel, the second volume of Matsumoto's story of two boys known as Black and White, nicknamed ""the cats,"" one hardened and streetwise, the other a slow-witted, playful dreamer. When a different pair of boys, Dusk and Dawn, arrives in Treasure Town, they've already heard of the cats, infamous for their acrobatic fighting skills and ability to practically fly over the rooftops of the metropolis. Black and White fight and defeat the boys, then befriend them and learn that a mysterious trio of assassins hired by the yakuza, the Japanese crime gangs, want to eliminate Black and White so they can prey upon the city. Black and White aren't fighting just for their lives, they are fighting for the life of their city. Other than an old man they call Gramps, who helps and worries over them, they depend only on each other. But ""Fighting them is like taking on the entire city; everything here is on their side,"" warns gangster Kimura, whose face is lined with scars from taking Black and White on. Matsumoto presents a surreal and strangely touching story of these young street fighters. His stylish black and white drawings are influenced by European comics artists as much as by Japanese manga, and his urban settings are strikingly drawn and richly detailed. (May)