Daniel X, the Manga, Vol. 1
written by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
illustrated by SeungHui Kye
When Daniel X was three-years-old, he witnessed an insectlike alien killing his parents. After the parents are both dead on the ground, the alien looks for “the list,” and for Daniel, so it can kill the little tyke. Somehow Daniel escapes, and the alien isn’t able to find “the list,” either. As Daniel grows older, he vows to get his revenge on the alien that destroyed his family.
“The list” is a list of alien outlaws on earth. Daniel continues the family business of being an alien hunter, and by the time he’s 15, he’s a skilled fighter who can take on his share of extraterrestrial bad guys. He goes through the list, alien by alien, staying in order. His latest mission is to take care of the alien Ergent Seth, who is hiding out somewhere in the L.A. area.
Daniel’s been living on his own…kind of. He has the abilities to create things from his imagination. When the police stop by wanting to talk to his parents because they notice he’s not in school, he makes his parents walk and talk. They’re not real, but they look and seem real enough to the police. Daniel also creates his own friends, having them show up when he’s lonely. This technique is probably the most interesting and unique part of the graphic novel.
So he moves to Glendale and begins attending school there while trying to figure out where to find Seth. At school he falls for Phoebe, another new student. Phoebe’s younger sister has been missing, but so have a number of other children, with Seth seemingly responsible. Daniel and Phoebe are planning to investigate this more…only for Phoebe to vanish next.
Daniel X is swift-moving and entertaining, with moments of humor and fun abilities in the main character. It’s officially rated Teen for a few swear words and a bit of alien fighting, but I think it would also be a fun graphic novel for younger readers, like older elementary school students. The art style is something of a Korean and American mix that isn’t overly elaborate and serves the story just fine. Aliens tend to look like things from earth — like strange mixtures of insects and horses — though aspects of them are a bit more imaginative. As an action and sci-fi read for younger readers, this looks good.