Title: Master Keaton Vol. 11 Author: Naoki Urasawa Publisher: VIZ Media Language: English Format: Paperback Pages: 322 Genre: Mystery Publication Date: June 20, 2017
Naoki Urasawa’s episodic series featuring the adventures of Taichi Keaton has returned for its eleventh 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. As always, I will only touch upon a couple of the stories as to not spoil the entire volume for new readers.
Even though this series is episodic with a new mystery in every chapter, Volume 11 went out of its way to bring us a three chapter mystery! Made in Japan featured a man by the name of Nakamura who has lost everything and became an assassin who always completes his job because everyone had called him incompetent throughout his life. While on an archaeological dig, Nakamura was hired to assassinate Keaton, but he was nothing more than a back up assassin. Another man was on sight that was given the job and Nakamura was only there in case the main assassin failed.
Nakamura’s backstory was a rather tragic one. He used to sell tools for a Japanese company, but when a million dollar deal went sour, his boss told him to pay with his life for disgracing the company. This began Nakamura’s downward spiral and his loathing of being called incompetent. Keaton’s daughter, Yuriko, ends up getting involved as well, adding onto the drama. The three-chapter story was refreshing of your typical one off murder mysteries and it really shows how this series can shine if it had a continuous story!
Speaking of continuous stories, the final two chapters, Pact on Ben Tan Mountain and Judgment on the Mountain was another two-part story. Two mountain climbers make a pact to kill each other’s enemy stating that the killer and victim would be unknown people, thus there would be no motive and it would throw the police off. Seven months later and the murder takes place. This calls for Keaton to come in and investigate! The pact was discovered and now Mr. Malcom is being framed for the murder of Rand Percival. It turned out that Burns used the murder pact in order to acquire some Nazi gold. It was a bit of a convoluted set up, but I think it was discovered rather nicely. The only thing I didn’t get was the final page with Malcom telling Burns that he’ll wait for him and then they can start over. Burns is being arrested for murder. Pretty sure Malcom is going to be waiting an awfully long time.
Usually, we get a lot of one off chapters. I’m really happy that we ended up with not one, but two multi-part stories in this book. The Made in Japan one was my favorite out of all the stories compiled in this volume of Master Keaton. It really showed what this series is capable of if the stories are given the chance to breathe and come to life!
Another nice touch was the return of the color pages! Usually you would see these at the beginning of a volume, but the color pages were presented at the beginning of Chapter 8: The Lost Genius Director. It had a very nice usage of red and orange hues and it, to use a pun, painted some very lively pictures. I’ve always enjoyed the color pages in this series and with the absence of them in Volume 10, it was refreshing to see them return here in Volume 11.
There are 144 chapters total for Master Keaton and with 12 chapters being compiled per volume, this tells us that there is 1 volume of this series left to! It’s been a great journey over the past couple of years and I can’t wait to see how this series wraps up!
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