From the publisher of manga titles such as Twin Spica, Peepo Choo and Ayako, Vertical, comes volume 13 of Osamu Tezuka’s Black Jack.
Black Jack tells the story of an unlicensed doctor who is asked by everyone from regular people to celebrities and sports stars to cure some of the most difficult cases. He is one of the best and knows it, but is often seen by fellow doctors and patients as a cold hearted man only out for the money, due to his extremely high fees that he often charges.
Volume 13 has the good doctor and his companion Pinoko, who is a patient of his that was basically reassembled and brought from the brink, as they face a whole new set of challenging cases including a swimming star with Marie’s Ataxia, an illness that effects motor functions, a gymnast who loses an arm and finds inspiration from a “talking” prosthesis and he even goes so far as to restore an aging movie star to her former beauty.
Not all of Black Jack’s cases end as you would expect, hearing that he is the greatest doctor and that he performs miracles would make you think that every patient he comes across is saved or that they walk away as if nothing ever changed. Sadly that just isn’t the way that Black Jack goes as some of his stories end tragically, but there are moral victories for the reader to see. While someone seems beyond redemption they can sometimes come out of their finest hour as a hero, doing something no one would have ever expected.
Each chapter in the manga basically tells its own individual short story that has the doctor or Pinoko involved in a single case, sometimes just making a few short appearances as the patient is the main focus. This makes for great short reading as each chapter isn’t very long and they can be read in no time at all for those who would read it on the go.
The text is all clear and easy to read and doesn’t get in the way of the images, while each of the panels is very well drawn, which of course is expected from a Tezuka manga. What is really great about Black Jack is the different illnesses discussed and the attention to detail that Tezuka puts into the drawings of anatomy, as opposed to just drawing a few squiggly lines and calling them organs he puts great detail in each of the procedures and does a good job of explaining just what many of the illness are and their side effects.
Overall volume 13 doesn’t really follow a central storyline, other than that Black Jack is a doctor and that he heals patients but it does make for a great read for Tezuka fans and those manga fans looking for something short that can be read in small sessions. It offers engaging individual cases full of drama and intensity and at the same time manages to slip in some light hearted comedy to offset some of the sadness. There is a reason Tezuka is considered one of the greatest and Black Jack is one of his best examples of why.
Black Jack Vol. 13
Publisher: Vertical, Inc.
Written by: Osamu Tezuka
Number of Pages: 296 (Black and White)
Release Date: January 25th, 2011
(A review copy of Black Jack Vol. 13 was provided by Vertical, Inc.)