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Title:
  D. Gray-Man vol 3 (Ongoing Series)

Distributor:  VIZ Media

Author:  Katsura Hoshino

Suggested Retail Price (SRP):  5.99

Number of Pages:  208

ISBN:  978-1421506258

Reviewed:  28th April 2008

Reviewer:  Rich (Webmaster)

 

Well, after an indifferent start D.Gray-Man has started to get into its stride in the last volume, the question is can it keep it up this time round?

Returning from his mission, Allen Walker finds the Black Order headquarters in turmoil after a new machine created by Komui goes haywire.  Still injured from his last mission, Allen is under the cosh a bit until Komui's sister and fellow exorcist Lenalee Lee steps in.  However, once more Allen barely has a chance to recover before he's dispatched on his latest mission, this time accompanied by Lenalee.  They have been sent to a city that is stuck in a bit of a Groundhog Day scenario.  Time rewinds at the end of each day and the inhabitants unknowingly repeat the 9th October over and over again, however, one woman is aware that time is rewinding and is desperate to find a way out.  Lenalee and Allen have been sent to the city as Komui believes that the strange scenario is down to an innocence, and the pair are tasked with retrieving it.  Unfortunately though they are not the only ones looking for it, Akuma are also roaming the city along with a new enemy in the form of a creepy teen called Road.  It's not long before both sides realise that the key to finding the innocence is Miranda, the only person aware of the time slips, and it's a race against time to see who can unlock the innocence first...

The last volume of D.Gray-Man really showed that it was finding its feet and this one certainly carries that feeling on, but only after a bit of a poor start.  The opening chapters of the book focus on Science Officer Komui's robotic creation Komlin which goes crazy after it tries to drink

coffee.  It's a comic relief story after the action of volume 2 and it seems to only be included to introduce Lenalee's innocence ability prior to her teaming up with Allen.  To be honest it's a bit pointless as they could have just explained her ability in a couple of panels rather than create a weak comedy side story to demonstrate it.  I find it frustrating that the series keeps trying to do comedy, as generally it hasn't been that funny and it handles action, drama and horror with far more success.  This volume is a case in point as once you've got past this though and the real story kicks in things get a hell of a lot better.

The story of the rewinding city is interesting and there's some time taken to explore Lenalee's character.  However, it's the other characters that really make D.Gray-Man vol 3 good.  Miranda Lotto is a terminally depressed goth stuck in a never ending day and she is the focus of the story, but the character that steals the show is Road Kamelot.  Up until now all of the villains, apart from the Millennium Earl himself, have been sub-human Akuma which all look a bit rubbish and are generally pretty single-minded.  However, Road is different.  She's a human character, a human character who sides with the Millennium Earl, a human character with strange powers, a human character who's more than a little twisted.  She's more inscrutable than the Akuma, and she's also far more creepy than any of the villains that have appeared thus far.


I know I may be waxing lyrical about a single character, but not only is she quite enigmatic and pretty disturbing, she also provides another aspect to the story.  Now Allen has an intelligent villain to contend with, and one that has chosen to ally herself with the Earl.  Such a concept was outside of Allen's world view and now he has to deal with it head on.  It provides more depth to Allen's character and also to the story, as all of a sudden it's no longer about monster hunting.  It's also through Road that more of D.Gray-Man's own style begins to shine through, with the gothic imagery we've glimpsed at points in the previous volumes really taking centre stage.  The story of the rewinding city may seem a bit old hat, but it's handled particularly well and there are some good moments of comedy, drama and horror to move things along too.  The majority of the volume is excellent and the ending is really well done, so it's a shame that the start is so weak.

At the end of the day I thought this volume was much better than the last one and I really enjoyed it.  The horror aspect during the showdown between Allen & Road gives it a real edge and it must be said that the rewinding city story is very good, especially as it adds more depth to Allen's character and introduces some new aspects to the story.  It's only the weak Komlin story that lets it down, it's unnecessary comic relief and if D.Gray-Man vol 3 has proved anything to me it's that the series is at its best when the subject and story are at their darkest.  If it wasn't for this limp opening I would be giving this volume five stars, as it is I would still recommend it, just not as highly.  D.Gray-Man is living up to its potential, but it's not quite there yet.

Extras 

 The usual ads in the back and character list are joined by character profiles for Miranda Lotto and Road Kamelot (although the Road one isn't giving much away).  Also included are seven 'discussion room' pages where Katsura Hoshino answers readers questions.  These pages are actually quite informative and interesting, so overall it's quite a good selection.

Ratings

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