Susan's Reviews > Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1: Herr Dr. Tenma

Naoki Urasawa's Monster, Volume 1 by Naoki Urasawa
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's review
May 09, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: manga-graphic-novels

To date, this is the closest read-alike I've found for the incomparable Death Note manga series, and the first three volumes at least are strong in their own right.

Dr. Tenma, a young, idealistic surgeon (think vintage Jack from Lost) gets in hot water when he takes time away from a prestigious patient to try and save a young boy's life. He saves the child's life, only to find out later that Johan is actually a sociopath and (unknown to the general public) the guilty party behind the horrific murder of his parents. With the doctor instant persona non grata with his status-minded fiancee and the hospital, Tenma takes to the road to try to track down the young man. Unfortunately, Johan manages to stay just a half-step ahead of him with identity changes and plastic surgery and Tenma's wild stories and erratic behavior tend to land him in the worst possible place at the wrong time and draw the attention of the police. Can Tenma catch up with the real killer before he ends up behind bars for murders he didn't commit? That's the question that drives the series, which lends a Fugitive-esque quality that's carried off very successfully.

Age Appropriateness (vol. 1-3):

No fan service--it's just not that kind of series. At the end of the third volume there are some references about prostitution, though you don't see anything and there's no detail. Still, with this being a true thriller, there are points in the first few volumes that are enough to give me nightmares. Some pretty disturbing elements for sure: such as child abuse, psychological torture, brainwashing, murder...this is hardly Happy Happy Clover here. And when the reader finds out more about Johan's background and how he got to be so cold-blooded and ruthless it only gets darker.As compelling and suspenseful as it is, it's not for the faint of heart, and probably not recommendable for anyone under 16.

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