The Darwin Incident Vol. 1

Kodansha/Vertical. (The Darwin Incident: Bk. 1). Sept. 2023. 192p. pap. $12.95. ISBN 9781647293161.
Gr 9 Up–Charlie is a humanzee—a hybrid born of a chimpanzee and a missing human doctor. Living in the suburbs of Missouri with his adoptive parents, Charlie is about to attend high school for the first time and just wants to be treated like an ordinary person. However, his life is anything but uncomplicated, as his fellow classmates just don’t understand him. Factor in an animal rights organization with homicidal tendencies that’s looking to recruit Charlie to their cause, and it’s clear why Charlie’s life may never be ordinary. This graphic novel is wonderful, intricate, compelling, and everything in between. It establishes itself as violent from the opening pages, and remains so with every turn of the page. The art is crisp and detailed. Umezawa does a nice job with American characters and settings, including some really swell, albeit few, New York City illustrations. Despite projecting a bored demeanor throughout the bulk of the volume, Charlie is a caring, mindful character whose views on the world will cause readers to think, as will most of the book’s material. This fast-paced, exciting story effectively conveys that the world is far from a simple place to live in. It will get teens reading, while also getting them to think about hot button issues in the country.
VERDICT A manga that not only reads great, but has plenty of depth to satisfy the cerebral manga fan who’s looking for more than just a breezy read.

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