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Roadsong Volume 1 by Allan Gross
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Roadsong Volume 1

by Allan Gross

Series: Roadsong (1)

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The two "brothers" - related through marriage - find themselves on the run after their entire family is blown up on a yacht. (They take this surprisingly well...if everyone I'd known or loved was blown up in a freak accident, I would have turned into a vegetable and gibbered in the corner of a dark room for months.) Each boy is a musician, so they team up and play together in bars and strip clubs to make money. Meanwhile, the mysterious woman responsible for blowing up their family is tracking them down so she can finish the job.

The lyrics to the "songs" were really lame. I mean, song lyrics rarely 'work' in manga form, but these stood out as especially bad.

Overall, Roadsong is an OK read. The contrast between popular, charming Marty and his romantic emo-kid "brother" Simon works pretty well for setting up comic situations, but it's the same jokes over and over and it gets tiresome by the end of the volume.

The art looks pretty darn American-trying-to-do-manga, but I guess that's to be expected since it's an OEL (Original English Language) series. ( )
  makaiju | Sep 26, 2010 |
This review was originally written for the website ListerX.com, which is now defunct. It can also be found on my blog, The Graphic Librarian.

Cover
I have to admit that the cover was what first drew me to this series; it's colorful and has a fun, light-hearted feel to it. However, the cover, much like the story, is not what it seems at first glance. While everything appears warm and carefree on the front, when you flip to the back the illustration takes on a darker, more sinister tone. This transition fits perfectly with the nature of the plot, thus giving the reader an excellent idea of what awaits them within. In addition to the well-chosen illustration, the Title and Blurb fonts have also been excellently selected. They're smooth and free-flowing with just the right amount of 'edge'. A perfect compliment to both the cover and the story itself.

Artwork
The artwork for this series is extremely playful - I absolutely love it! Admittedly, this carefree style seems to be in direct conflict with the plot line at first, but it's not long before the two merge to create a delightfully dark comedy. The characters are utterly adorable - even the villains, which is amusing and slightly disturbing all at the same time. The facial expressions nicely enhance this effect with a variety of cute and comedic looks. And yet, while 'adorable' is obviously this artist's forte, her ability to show more dramatic emotions isn't hindered in the slightest. I was equally impressed with the action sequences and body proportions. Everything in regards to the characters is excellently rendered - even the costuming, while not elaborate, suits each character perfectly. In addition, the backgrounds are wonderfully detailed without feeling over-crowded or over done, a trait that lends itself nicely to the overall feel of the story.

Plot
**Possible Spoilers Warning**

Monty and Simon are from two different worlds. . . worlds which have suddenly collided thanks to Simon's sister and Monty's brother. The couple have decided to get married and want their younger brothers to play a song at the wedding. The boys grudgingly agree, although neither one of them is happy about the arrangement, and on the day of the wedding everything goes just as it should. However, it seems Monty's dad has some powerful enemies and the ceremony, which is being held on a private yacht, is too good a chance to pass up. Just as Monty and Simon are leaving to stash their instruments the ship explodes, killing everyone on board and putting Monty's dad in the hospital in serious condition. In total shock the boys can do nothing but wait. However, Fate has other plans in mind.

The boys accidentally overhear a conversation they shouldn't and then get caught eavesdropping. After that, their only choice is to run for their lives. Of course things quickly go from bad to worse when their disappearance is used to implicate them in the bombing. Forced into hiding, Simon and Monty quickly learn that they'll have to work together if they want to survive. And with the real killers right on their tails it's going to take all of their combined talents to prove their innocence. They quickly head out of town and form a band to make some extra cash. Granted, the place they're playing is more strip club than night club and their hotel only charges by the hour, but the boys take what they can get. After all, with a hired killer following their every move they can't afford to be choosy, especially when they know it'll take every trick in the book to stay alive long enough to unmask the true murderers.

Content Warnings
Language = Yes - sometimes profusely.

Violence = People die & get shot, but it's not graphic.

Nudity = Definitely suggested - One panel shows the profile of a nude female from the waist up.

Sexual Situations = Suggested only - nothing graphic.

Ratings
Cover - 8/10 - An excellent depiction of what's going on in the plot - plus, it's beautifully rendered.

Artwork - 8/10 - Light-hearted and fun; the characters are excellently depicted and the overall style fits the story very well.

Plot - 7/10 - I think it'll be fun to see Monty and Simon's friendship develop and I can't wait to find out how they get even with the killers.

Overall - 7.5/10 - A great start to this new ameri-manga series - there's a lot to be found here and I'll definitely be looking for the next volume. ( )
  purpledragon42 | Jan 2, 2007 |
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Two runaway boys form the ultimate band on the run in order to let music save their souls!

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