Team Phoenix, Vol. 1

Udon Entertainment. Nov. 2023. 192p. pap. $13.99. ISBN 9781772942767.
Gr 7 Up–Meet Sapphire the Knight, prince and heir to the throne of Silverland. In reality, Sapphire knows the people of her planet will never accept a woman as their one true sovereign, and has her gender covered up by her father. Moreover, this world has been completely dominated by the Robot Alliance (led by the savior of robots, Atlas), who treat all “biologicks” like dirt. When Sapphire feels that this maltreatment simply can’t go on any longer, what follows is a tale of conflict and rebellion. This title will appeal to older and newer fans of manga, as it takes characters from multiple Osamu Tezuka (known as “the Godfather of Manga”) franchises to fuse together this story. While some readers will be familiar with Astro Boy, Dororo, Princess Knight, and many others, this title’s concept is a great way to get newer fans to look into Tezuka’s pioneering bibliography. Under the hood, the story is well paced and fun, with a clean art style that bears many hallmarks of Tezuka’s unmistakable technique (large eyes, small mouths, etc.). With an admirable female protagonist in Sapphire who is genuinely looking out for the greater good, Team Phoenix is a beautiful tribute to the mangaka that’s made manga what it is today.
VERDICT A solid mashup of Tezuka’s beloved characters, paying homage to the reason we read manga in the first place, while simultaneously ushering in a new generation of fans.

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