Wednesday, May 24, 2006

East Coast Rising, v.1

By Becky Cloonan
Released by TokyoPop

Slugline: In the near future, when the water level has risen, a motley crew of privateer merchants decides to go after the legendary lost horde of the last mayor of NYC.

Becky Cloonan is one of the success stories from American manga fandom, having made the transition from convention artist alleys to works such as AIT/Planetar’s Demo.

East Coast Rising is a pirate story, based in the flooded East Coast of the near future. Archer, a boy of questionable past, is rescued by the La Revancha -- the fastest ship on the Hudson River, captained by Cannonball Joe -- from pirates riding giant sea turtles.

What, didn’t you have nightmares as a kid that some snapping turtle was going to bite into your stomach while you were swimming in a lake?

Oh, just me then.

From there, Cannonball Joe and company sneak into Jersey to steal the required treasure map, leading to a confrontation with Jersey pirates and fending the Suffocating Death, a giant octopus that is a true monster of the deep, which happens to enjoy Jersey waters. The book leaves us with the Suffocating Death maimed, but now very determined to get teeth and tentacles on our soft munchy heroes.

Jersey pirates! What else do I need to tell you about the title? Okay, pirates, in an interesting near future with crazy critters. A fun, enjoyable read. The main weakness is that the characters are broadly sketched and are easily identifiable types, with no surprises or even twists in them so far. But considering that this is an adventure story, this isn’t yet a fatal flaw. Almost half of the book is merely the extended chase/battle sequence, first against the Jersey pirates, then with the Suffocating Death thrown in.

- Ferdinand

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