Icaro Vol. 2
It didn't take much space for Moebius and Jiro Taniguchi to tell the tale of Icaro. Icaro was inexplicably born with the power of flight. For his entire life, the government has kept him locked in a huge facility that is nothing more than an oversized bird cage. However, none of the scientists monitoring him could have predicted the power of love, and the will of mankind to be free from bondage. Any more details and I'd pretty much ruin the story, so I'll leave it vague.
One thing I will note, Icaro truly feels dreamlike. There is much going on in the background while the main story plays out, but quite a bit of the details of the story are left unexplained. An entire TV series could be based upon this story, but instead, like a dream, the nonessential components fade away as the primary core of the tale leads readers on this imaginative journey.
This is a very straightforward story, told across only two volumes. Icaro was written by Moebius and illustrated by Jiro Taniguchi, the author of Benkei in New York and Samurai Legend, both available domestically from Viz and CPM Manga, respectively. It's noteworthy for me in that it's the first comic book I've read by Moebius, despite his prominence in the industry, and that it's the first manga I've seen from ibooks, a very diverse publisher.
Despite the dream-inspired science fiction storyline, the look of Icaro is one of awe-inspiring realism. Taniguchi excels at crafting illustrations that bring to life Moebius's vision. From the complex research facility Icaro lives in to the lifelike expressions on the various characters in the story, Icaro has a cinematic quality that is rarely achieved in comic books.
There's not much in terms of extra content in either of the two volumes of Icaro. Moebius provides an introduction, and there are detailed biographies of the two artists, but that's about all. The book is printed from right to left, but the sound effects have been translated. The words that replace the original sound effects are very small, however, doing little harm to the beautiful artwork underneath them. The book is larger than average, more akin to a standard American graphic novel than to the majority of manga we get nowadays. The size makes it all the easier to see Taniguchi's artwork, which in turn, makes me more impressed by his skill with details.
This is a fine two-part tale, and any fan of visual storytelling can't go wrong in picking it up. It's a unique, rare, and laudable collaboration of two superlative artists. Let's just hope we get to see more of Moebius's dreams one day soon.