cover image Gamma Draconis

Gamma Draconis

Benoist Simmat and Eldo Yoshimizu, trans. from the French by Marc Bourbon-Crook. Titan Comics Hard Case Crime, $14.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-78773-606-1

Occultist history, dark conspiracies, and dramatic fight sequences intertwine in this multinational thriller-manga, a confused collaboration between French comics writer Simmat (Wine: A Graphic History) and artist Yoshimizu (the Ryuko series). Savvy heroine Aiko is studying at the Sorbonne when her professor suffers an inexplicable sudden accident. With the help of detective Janne, Aiko seeks answers to his fate and uncovers the secrets of her family’s past—and how financier Julian Bedford and the Gamma foundation aim to unlock the power of eternal life. Aiko’s journey takes her from a French abbey, to the heart of London, to a church in Takarazuka, Japan. Moments of heart-pounding adventure are marred as Yoshimizu’s detailed inkwork competes with Simmat’s overabundant dialogue (with awkward font placement decisions), while an often confusing narrative structure relies on convenient coincidences to propel it forward. Readers will want to linger over the meticulously rendered streets and buildings, but will find themselves losing track of the packed exposition. While visually impressive, this Dan Brown–esque manga experiment falls flat. (Aug.)