Comic Books Magazine

Gangsta Vol 1 Review

Posted on the 29 April 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

GangstaTitle: Gangsta
Genre: Action, Comedy, Drama
Publisher: Shinchosha (JP), Viz Media (US)
Artist: Kohske
Serialized in: Comic Bunch
Translation: Katherine Schilling
Original Release Date: February 18, 2014

Gangsta, by a female manga artist under the pen name Kohske, is probably one of the most refreshing releases that I’ve read so far this year. While the subject material may not be for everyone, and while the hiring talented assassin/odd jobs story has been done before, there’s a lot of style and enough personality that makes the episodic nature of the work flourish. Needless to say, if you’re interested in a story combining petty thieves, cops hiding secrets, and some powerful families, this is one work you need to check out.

Nic and Worick are “Handymen”, people who take care of the jobs no one else will handle. The first volume showcases this when they are tasked with eliminating a gang annoying the families in the area. They do business with brothel managers, with mafia who kill people that betray them, and even work with a doctor with a twisted personality — and a 12 year old girl. But as they do their jobs, their pasts and current situations are thrust into the forefront, and they have to come to grips with that while a mysterious group that’s calling some of the shots and dishing out punishment to those who fail to carry out their orders lurk in the shadows…

The easiest takeaway out of Gangsta are the characters, and how good they are. You have Worick, a 35 year old who does jobs as a handyman but is also a gigolo, a whore (Alex) who escapes that life by joining the handyman, a grandma who requests their business and knows the neighborhood, and a man who once worked for the Mafia but decided to work with Worick and Nic. Nic’s probably the one that stands out because he’s a “Tag” — your normal superhuman character in a manga series — and also because he’s deaf. Let’s just say I struggled to think of a series in anime and manga that had a deaf character, so I found it interesting to see how that was showcased here. But in general, all of the characters are great, and for a first volume, that’s a good thing.

The stories are also fairly solid as well. The one thing that I wasn’t so sure was needed was Alex learning about an incident involving Worick’s past. Something about that felt weird to see, or more like I don’t believe that should have been revealed when there were already flashbacks to Worick’s past in the chapter. But aside from that, the different stories were well thought up and fun reads, though you wonder how future chapters will go down the road when there’s a long involving story, especially when it’s revealed at the end of a group seeking doctors for something, and they’re no slouches.

But based on the first volume, Gangsta was great. With well drawn characters and paneling, combined with the story and the characters themselves, I’m currently a fan. If you find this in your area, this is well worth your time, assuming some of the content matter (there are prostitutes, there’s some excessive violence, etc) might be too much for you.

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