Manga Recon | 27 July 2009 | Grant Goodman



Well, so much for a grand adventure with a master and his apprentice taking on the wild. When Mr. Crepsley reazlizes that Darren is lonely, he makes an offer to return to the Cirque du Freak. The freak show does have a few younger members and Darren becomes fast friends with Evra Von, the snake-boy.


The main plot point of this volume revolves around Darren’s refusal to drink human blood. He grows weaker and weaker with every chapter, trying to convince himself that he would rather die. It’s a particularly dark thought for such a young character to exhibit, but it really drives the story and makes it accessible to an older audience. Additional psychological drama pours forth from Darren’s simultaneous hatred and respect for Crepsley. He struggles to figure out how to treat the vampire. Without his teachings, Darren knows he will not survive. He also desires revenge, and when Crepsley takes the stage to perform with his deadly spider, Darren realizes he may have a chance to kill him.


The pacing is great, never settling into a lull. Just as Darren’s life starts to revert back to a bright-eyed tale of strong friendship among kids, the more sinister side of the story creeps back in. Most of the time, the serenity is broken up by some wonderfully bloody violence.


Despite a heavy focus on Darren’s blood-drinking, volume two introduces Mr. Desmond Tiny, one of the only members of the freak show who positively drips with evil. He and Darren get into a little spat and then he promptly disappears from the story. I hope he returns, as Arai’s drawings of Mr. Tiny were the best pieces of art in this volume.

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