Phoenix: Dawn - Osamu Tezuka

The first book in Tezuka's Phoenix series (see my review of book 2), "Dawn" is set at the start of Japanese history. It's a fictionalized account, of course, based on the earliest known mention in historical texts of what appears to be Japan. People from various tribes are seeking the Phoenix, whose blood is believed to grant immortality, and the result is war between the various tribes. Tezuka pulls together figures from history and legend and works them into a cohesive tale, inserting action and humor (often at the same time). At times, it got a little confusing keeping track of the several warring peoples and where exactly they were, but it wasn't too bad.

The drawings, done in recognizable manga style, range from fairly graphic gore to pure slapstick and cartoon physics. Most of it will make sense to Westerners, though there were a few things here and there that I didn't quite understand.

Overall, entertaining and marginally educational.

Fed to jonathan's brain | September 10, 2004