Me & the Devil Blues 2

July 15, 2009

Akira Hiramoto – Del Rey – 2009 – 2+ volumes

This series is AMAZING.  The second volume was not quite as gripping as the first, but it would be hard to top the section in the first volume where reality unhinges in the bar and then snaps back in place to reveal that R.J. has been missing for months.  This volume was more plot-driven that the last one as well, and it moves at a pretty slow pace, but it’s still easy to appreciate everything that’s going on.

The slow pace is due in part to the way the series has of stalling on really tense scenes.  There’s a few good ones with Clyde where he’s waiting out a blind man’s rage, or trying to figure out what’s going on in a room full of candy, or just napping on a porch.  Some of these are more interesting than others, and the action scenes have a similar way of stretching themselves out for dramatic effect.  The scene where R.J. and Clyde are being chased by hellhounds at the end of the volume is the best example, where the scene with Clyde breaking into the sheriff’s office is probably an example of a scene which lasted a bit too long.  In all cases, the art really carries the day.  This series gets away with a lot of things I wouldn’t stand for elsewhere simply because it looks really, really good doing it.

I was a bit disappointed that music played absolutely no part in this volume.  I was even more disappointed when R.J. got his hands on a guitar at the end and was getting ready to play on the very last page… especially since I think the series has pretty much stopped and we’ll never see any more of it.

This is also disappointing because the plot built pretty slowly throughout this gigantic volume and was just beginning to pay off towards the end.  The beginning is actually maddeningly slow, because Clyde is investigating the blind man that runs the town and R.J. is in prison awaiting death.  Aside from the men that get thrown in with him and a chat with Ike, very little happens for him until later, though the talk with Ike is significant since Ike raises the issue of R.J.’s desires and what they ultimately cost him, whose fault his current situation is, and even a significant discussion on race relations.

There’s also an annoying loose thread about the ultimate fate of a little boy that the blind man keeps close to him.  Clyde has trouble trying to figure out if he’d be able to save both the little boy and R.J., then decides to save R.J. when he goes to meet the little boy’s family.  I’m not sure how a bad home life changed his mind, or if it did, or if they completely disregarded this problem (they may have, given how events turn out).  I’m curious to see whether or not the blind man catches them in the end.  The ruthless dogs are apparently also still after them, which was one of the most… I don’t know, outrageous chase scenes I’ve ever seen, including the totally badass way R.J. takes one of them out (which didn’t make me feel as bad as it sounds like it should have, since these are literally monster-dogs).

It may sound like I’m complaining a lot, but mostly I’m cranky because I’m pretty sure no more of this series will ever come out and I’m disappointed that it left off on such a cliffhanger.  It’s an awesome series though, and both of the 600-page volumes are well worth picking up.  They are by far the nicest thing that Del Rey has thus far published, which is saying a lot since I’m also quite fond of Faust and things like Parasyte.

One Response to “Me & the Devil Blues 2”

  1. […] (Animanga Nation) Danielle Leigh on vol. 1 of Kimi ni Todoke (Comics Should Be Good) Connie on vol. 2 of Me and the Devil Blues (Slightly Biased Manga) Lori Henderson on vols. 28 and 29 of Naruto (Manga Xanadu) Sesho on vol. 34 […]

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