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The adventures of Yasuhiro Nightow’s most famous creation, Vash the Stampede, continue in the second volume of Trigun. Things kick things off in a major way as Vash comes face to face with mysterious and deadly Legato and it just gets worse from there for the poor fellow. The Gun Ho Guns, muscle for the series main villain, are introduced and harry Vash throughout the volume. If that weren’t enough, by the time the volume is finished we’ve had our first glimpse at the big bad for the series, Knives Millions.
Much like the first volume, much of this one will be familiar territory for fans of the anime series. About half way through is where things begin to deviate and the anime and manga begin to go their own ways. What’s interesting is, that although they begin to diverge here, the manga still has many of the story elements and scenes that would go on to appear in the anime. It’s not entirely new material for anime fans, but the beginnings are there. Because of this it’s still a little difficult to look at manga and the not compare and contrast it to the anime, which was my first introduction to the Trigun franchise to begin with. Things such as the anime’s revelation regarding Wolfwood came after he and Vash had time to build up a relationship, here it’s given away during his second appearance. On one hand it lacks the emotional heft that it had in the anime, on the other hand, getting it out of the way and keeping Vash ignorant of the matter seems like it will allow Nightow to give any future interaction the two have some nice tension. The introduction of Knives is a major difference between the two and, frankly, the way it’s handled here gives it a lot of dramatic weight. His appearance and what happens next feel like major event for Vash and the world the story takes place in, which is definitely a good thing.
Visually Nightow’s work is about the same as it was in the first volume. The arrival of the Gun Ho Guns allows Nightow to throw a bunch of character designs at us at once. Some of which are more interesting then others. Monev the Gale, for example, isn’t terribly interesting or memorable and almost seems like something you’d expect to see in a 90s Image comic. The action scenes vary here, with Vash’s duel with Dominique being the stand out of the volume. It’s nicely paced and the action is fairly easy to follow. On the other hand, his clash with Monev and some of the other Gun Ho Guns feel a bit messy and seems to sacrifice clarity in an attempt to evoke motion and energy.
I’m still enjoying Trigun and any fans of the anime will probably find themselves as intrigued and curious to see where things go from here as I was. I still have some minor issues with Nightow’s artwork and his action scenes, but the combination of enjoyable characters, nostalgia and the desire to see how this differs from the anime will probably keep me reading for a little while more.
Trigun, Vol. 2 is available from Dark Horse Comics.
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