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The second volume of A Distant Soil is even better than the first in every way. The first GN was one of my favorite graphic novels, but it spent a lot of time setting up the characters and situations. The second moves the story further along, but spends a lot of time on character development, which I enjoy most. The characters are very real and interesting, even if they are odd, quirky, and fantastical. You get the impression that there is an awful lot going on in their lives behind the scenes. I remember a bit from a Stephen King novel called Bag of Bones, that the most detailed characters on a book were never more than bags of bones compared to real people. But these characters are so rich, that I feel as if I know them, and as if their lives are going on when the pages are closed. Terrific bits include a scene where we learn that D'mer is part of a harem. The men are second to women on his world. And with this tiny bit, your mind just reels, and you feel like you've been given this tiny peek into great richness. There is also a huge improvement in the art on this book. Volume I was good, but Volume II is much better. The line art in Volume I was sometimes hard edged, but I didn't really think about it much until I compared it to Volume II, which is so smooth and lovely and gorgeous.<BR/><BR/>This is good for women readers, and manga fans, and had many things to say about tolerance and gender relations.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted June 18, 2003
The cast which was assembled in Volume 1 is now off to do battle. So far there are at least two dozen named characters, facilitating conversation galore as well as numerous individual likenesses in various poses. Snippets of history are emerging, tending to explain the backgrounds of some of the participants just as the talk serves to reveal details of character, motivation, and purpose. Although a panel by panel reading gives a sense of action and some continuity, grasping the finer details of the plot requires coming back and rereading (as well as relooking - some of the drawing is quite involved) over and over again. Superficially there is plenty of locker room banter and even an explicit scene or two. Naturally the book can be read solely at that level, omitting the undercurrents entirely. Generally speaking, the group recruited on earth is supposed to restore a balance between the creators and wielders of an enormous metaphysical power, and the political group which oversees its use. Not unlike the conflict between the physical scientists and engineers who have learned natural forces and how to manipulate them, and the generals who see it all in terms of weaponry. Or the opportunists who are more than willing to exploit both. Be that as it may, the adventurers who are presumably going to wrest some of the control back from the governing hierarchy, having left the earth, are now on their way to a space station which is both a powerful weapon and the mobile headquarters of the rulers of the interstellar empire. But our friends only have the girl; the hierarchy has the boy - her brother - who soon falls into the hands of still another group with their own anarchical plans. The intrigue is far from over, and this second volume only carries us to the point where the two groups clash, finding that their common goal really isn't the one they wanted after all. In good part that is because they have all been lead astray by the somewhat inept and inexperienced focus of all their efforts. Leaving, of course, many more adventures yet to come.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.