Review: Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 4

This volume actually came out last week, but I didn’t have time to get to it. It’s a shame because I really enjoyed it as it took a break from the heavier story elements and developed the characters and structure of the world more. My one and only gripe is that I wish Leo’s character was given more kick ass moments like in the first two volumes, but I’m hopeful that it’s coming soon. What I really enjoy about this series is the fluctuating structure of the story. Sometimes the first story can last almost the entire issue while other times it can be over and done with rather quickly. It’s a great mix up. Instead of having a feeling for where and when the story is going to end, it will often times continue. This is honestly refreshing when you read as many comic as I do. American comic books stick tightly to their formulas and it can often time make reading an average issue very dull as the reveals almost always hit on the same page.

The bulk of the story is spent with the first story which is about Zap being kidnapped. He calls Klaus to come save him which is a rare thing for Klaus to do. He asks Leo to escort him to the location, but upon arriving they discover that Zap is being held at an underground fighting arena. Klaus is forced to fight in order to save him and gets into the heat of things very quickly. I’m going to leave the rest for you to read since this is the bulk of the issue and it’s basically just kick ass fights.

Blood Blockade Battlefront Vol. 4 CoverThe second story was actually very interesting as it revealed a lot about Klaus’ past. He’s apparently royalty or something and his butler is also his body-guard. When his butler is injured a stand-in is sent in his place. The new butler is young and arrogant and has plenty to prove, but even more to learn. It’s kind of a sad story in some ways, but it all works out in the end while setting the stage for more tales to come and really a bigger world outside of Jerusalem’s Lot.

I like this issue because it hit the brakes on the series and didn’t focus on Vampires and crazy monsters looking to destroy Jerusalem’s Lot and take over the world. Instead it was like, “hey remember how cool and kick ass these characters are? Let’s spend some time with a few of them.” It was just a good change of pace, but one that didn’t come across as filler. That would be bad. Instead the issue really does come across as Klaus’ issue as we learn about his past which only serves to make him more interesting. The writing is strong and the dialogue is very sharp.

The art is of course fantastic. Nightow’s style and structure is different from most manga. In my review for the fourth volume of Oreimo, I pointed out that the structure to most manga is the same regardless of the genre. That’s not true here, but I think the amount of detail is what plays into Nightow’s unique structure. It really comes across as there not being enough room on the page for him to show you what he wants. Just imagine that; he has complete control over the layout and visuals and yet there isn’t enough space for him to give you everything he sees. It’s fantastic to look at and yet he reins himself in to make sure that the art doesn’t over power the story.

This series was strange at first, but it’s quickly become one of my favorite manga’s of all time. The characters and world are so unique that I can’t help but enjoy every page, but then more impressively is the gorgeous art that’s ridiculously detailed. If you’re a fan of manga or even just fantasy stories, then check out Blood Blockade Battlefront.

Score: 4/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Yasuhiro Nightow Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $12.99 Release Date: 9/4/13