About a week ago, I managed to come across the first volume of the Soulless graphic novel adaptation from Yen Press. Over the past few years, Yen Press has been busy making graphic novels out of James Patterson’s works and a few others (most notably Gossip Girl and  Twilight). Well their latest endeavour is based on Gail Carriger’s “The Parasol Protectorate” series, which spans five or so books, the first of which being Soulless. This adaptation is actually in the monthly Yen Plus digital magazine and I’d heard of it since late last year, but I don’t particularly like the idea of digital magazines, so I’ve not read it till I receive the physical copy. My gripes on the whole digital and print issues aside, I was really looking forward to this graphic novel, as I tend to like every series that Yen Press picks up.

Soulless as describe by mangamarket follows, “Alexia Tarabotti, a spinster and sadly half-Italian, is also a Soulless. In a world where her touch negates the powers of supernatural beings, keeping her identity under wraps is not the easiest of tasks. Add to this, a scruffy Scottish Werewolf who has a tendency to improper advances, and a flamboyant Vampire Aristocrat with and seemingly inexhaustible information network, Alexia’s life is not that of the traditional Victorian Gentlewoman. At least she can rely on her trusty parasol. “

The story is interesting enough as I’m quite fond of Victorian era works, but the main draw for me is that the art was done by Rem. Rem is most noted (in my book at least) as being the artist behind the Vampire Kisses manga from the now defunct Tokyopop. Her (I’m assuming Rem is a she) was this aesthetic allure which I find very pleasing in manga. She knows how to hold the pencil and the angles she uses to portray scenes has gotten better and better over the years. Rereading over my old copy of Vampire Kisses and Soulless, I can really see that she has improved exponentially.

Back to the manga at hand, Soulless does really well to feel like a moving story. The action happens at the right moments and I felt that many of the questions that were raised over the course of the story were answered well in the end. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I particularly liked the ending, knowing that it was just the first of five or so books. That kind of ending is usually reserved for the end of ends, so I’m quite pleased it was used this early on.

I also really liked the characters, Alexia is a rather strong character that seethes with an air of femininity. In this day and age where too many females are tomboys or girl girls, it’s a nice change that Carriger went with Alexia’s personality the way she did. The fact that Alexia is an older female (26) rather than an adolescent or teenager really adds to the story as well, enabling the character to have a better sense of the world around her. Lord Maccon, the male lead, is a typical scruffy, manly man. The catch is however, that he is a noble! With Alexia’s personality you would expect their social positions to be reverse but this interesting twist adds dynamic to the story.

All in all, Soulless v.1 is a good and pleasant read. The story is enticing and Rem’s art really brings the characters, environment, and drama to life. I can’t recommend this manga enough and at this point I’m totally enamored.

5/5

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