Monster, Vol. 11–13
written by Naoki Urasawa
Monster continues its captivating story with three more strong volumes. Dr. Tenma is on the run from the German police for murders he didn’t commit. While dodging capture, the brilliant physician is also seeking out Johan, the real murderer. Other people, including Johan’s twin sister, Nina, are on his trail as well. As a child, Johan was brainwashed at the orphanage 511 Kinderheim, and tapes are discovered of him being interviewed. On the tapes, Johan reveals that he’s frightened of the monster inside him.
Johan, meanwhile, is still committing murders, though now he does it under the disguise of his sister. The twins are so similar looking that, with a dress and a wig, Johan can pass as her without anyone being wiser. Dr. Tenma is in the company of Grimmer, another victim of 511 Kinderheim, who is trying to help. Whatever was done to Grimmer at the orphanage, it’s caused him to be out of touch with his emotions. He admits that when his son died, he didn’t even know how he was supposed to act. Usually Grimmer carries a large smile, an expression that he’s been trained to wear.
There is more and more talk about children’s books from an elusive author, and somehow this ties into the story of Johan and the monster. Inspector Lunge, who believes Dr. Tenma is guilty, holds a deep fascination with all this.
An act of kindness leads to Dr. Tenma’s downfall, as he’s caught by the police while tending to a hurt child. Taken back to Germany, he’s told his chances of being found innocent are slim to none. His former patients rally against him, but when Tenma learns his ex-fiancée might be assassinated because of her connection to him, he makes a false confession in hopes this can save her life. But after that he manages to escape prison, returning to the life of a fugitive and searching frantically for his ex-fiancée, to see if he can reach her before it’s too late.
Monster is a very detailed, intricate manga. You definitely don’t want to start this one anywhere in the middle, because there is so much going on. The art continues to be amazing, especially with the detailed backgrounds. Urasawa’s use of sequentials is superb, because something in the way he maps out his panels makes the reader feel as if they’re being sucked into his world.