Title: Master Keaton Vol. 10
Author: Naoki Urasawa
Publisher: VIZ Media
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
Naoki Urasawa’s episodic series featuring the adventures of Taichi Keaton has returned for its tenth volume. Much like with past volumes, each chapter provides a unique story involving Keaton as he unravels mystery after mystery in, seemingly, his spare time.
This volume opens with, yet, another murder mystery. The owner of a pub, The Shooting Star, has a discussion about taking the pub to new heights to help its mediocre sales, but the owner’s son shows up and clearly wants control of it. He’s an abusive man who even threatens the life of his own father if he doesn’t end up handing the pub over. One day, his son gets murdered by Morris, the bartender of the pub, out of self defense, but Keaton unravels it as a clever ploy. It looked like Morris was just doing this to protect the pub at first, but it turned out he wanted it all to himself for the pub’s deep and hidden history, which would have been worth a lot of money. It was an interesting spin on the murder mystery and I didn’t even really see that twist coming. I had a feeling that Morris committed the murder on purpose, but I didn’t really expect the reason behind it! Good job by Urasawa in swerving the reader! This was the something new I’ve been wanting see and have been talking about in previous reviews!
Chapter 2, Happy New Year, focuses a bit on a person from Keaton’s past. Now, I’m all for introducing new characters to help further develop others, but it really seemed like Urasawa was scraping the bottom of the barrel here on this one. Her name is Kate Russel and she was a server at an ice cream parlor from when Keaton was a child. She used to serve him mint ice cream and now she wants to marry Keaton out of the blue! While it is an odd twist, it is revealed that she wants custody of her son Daniel, but an abusive ex-boyfriend stands in the way so it’s up to Keaton to try and set things right. While it was a nice little detraction from murder mystery, I just didn’t buy this new character. They could have easily just had Keaton assigned to help out a person named Kate Russel and not have any connection to Keaton. It was a poor attempt at establishing more of Keaton’s past just because it seemed so random.
We are then treated to a two-part story. Chapter 3, Resident of a Lightless World and Chapter 4, The Woman Who Brought Light focused on goods being smuggled out of a museum by leftovers from Nazi Germany who felt like these goods still belonged to them. A woman named Eva was trying to uncover the crime ring responsible and the museum’s assistant, Weber, was assisting her… by going around and murdering the people in the crime ring. I like the fact that this didn’t end in one chapter. This is something that this series has needed a lot more of because more often than not, the stories end so abruptly or do a lot of time skipping in order to rush into a conclusion. Urasawa let this one breathe and I hope we get to see more of this before the manga concludes in the next two volumes!
With these first four chapters, this volume of Master Keaton offered up a nice little twist on murder mystery, tried to establish Keaton’s past and finally learned to extend a story beyond one chapter! I also like Chapter 6, Keaton, The Home Tutor because it gave us another little break and was a bit touching at the same time. The rest of the volume was also a great read, but like my previous reviews, I won’t cover everything because they are “episodic” and I don’t want to spoil everything for those who choose to go out and add Volume 10 to your collection.
I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that there’s only two volumes left. This has been one of the more intelligent manga series I’ve read and I’d really like to see how this all wraps up! The only real big disappointment out of this volume would be the lack of color pages. Usually, Master Keaton has some wonderful color art, but it was absent this time around. Maybe we’ll get it back in Volume 11. I certainly hope so because it is a pleasure to look at!
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**This item was provided for review by VIZ Media