Having wrapped up Gundam: The Origin, we’re starting up a new manga from Johji Manabe, the author of Outlanders.

Title: Caravan Kidd, Volume 1
Written & Illustrated by Johji Manabe
Lettering & Touch-Up by Wayne Truman
Translation by Dana Lewis & Toren Smith

Available (from Third party sellers) through Amazon.com

The Premise

On an alien world, the expansionist Helgebard Empire is slowly conquering the planet. Greedy merchant Babo and his lacky Wataru run into a red-haired warrior woman named Mian Toris, who has superhuman abilities. The forces of the Helgebard Empire think she’ll destroy the world, but from where Wataru sits she seems like a normal (if badass) person. Which is the truth?

High Points

Mian and Wataru develop chemistry very quickly, which is good, considering this is a short (3 volume) series.

Additionally, Manabe’s art continues to be fantastic.

Low Points

The recurring plot beat of “Babo betrays Mian and Wataru for the reward money, then gets a change of heart and frees them” gets a little tiresome by the end of this volume.

Scores

Originality: This is what I’d describe as Manabe’s take on Red Sonja, with a loose Sci-Fi bent. 4/6

Art: I love manabe’s art style, from his character designs to the way he draws action, to the mechanical designs. I’m kind of disappointed by the fact that the majority of Manabe’s current work tends towards the pornographic, and his remaining non-pornographic works haven’t gotten a US release. 5/6

Story: Generally this series tends towards the episodic, though the series is building up to something bigger. 4/6

Emotional Response: The action squences are exciting, though some of the jokes don’t quite work. 4/6

Characterization: Wataru & Mion are interesting characters, and I’m interested in learning what the Empress’ game is. Babo, on the other hand, is more one-note than Quark in Season 1 of DS9. 4/6

Flow: This was published flipped, so it took a bit for me to re-adjust. Once I did, however, the book flowed just fine. 5/6

Overall: A good start, which hooked me for the next volume. 4/6

In total, Caravan Kidd Volume 1 gets 29 out of 42.