Golden Kamuy Vol. 1 TP
Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: June 20, 2017
Price: $12.99
Creator: Satoru Noda
Format: 192 pgs., Black & White, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4215-9488-0
Age Rating: 16+
ICv2 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

The setting is northern Japan just after the country had finished a war with Russia.  The "hero" is a man named Sugimoto who got the reputation for being immortal during the war due to his ability to constantly survive impossible odds and situations.  Now trying to scrape a living by searching for gold in the icy region of Hokkaido, Sugimoto hears about a huge stash of hidden gold and, accompanied by a local Ainu woman, decides to go on a quest to find it.  Unfortunately for him there are others who want the gold as well and will go so far as to kill to make sure that it becomes theirs.

One thing that I love about a good graphic novel is that when it's done correctly, it has the ability to transfer you to a new place and time almost effortlessly. In this particular release, the time and effort that it has to use in order to whisk you away to this older era can be measured in mere pages.

Between the striking artwork and the mostly solid storytelling, Golden Kamuy is a strong release from start to finish.  Believe it when you hear that this is a page turner that will leave you struggling to put the book down once you begin.

If there were one thing that one could point out as a possible flaw to this release it would be that there seem to be a lot of serendipitous coincidences that pop up to start us off.  Naturally one has to expect there to be some of this in every release otherwise there wouldn't be a story to tell, but in this case it did feel like a bit of overkill by the time we learn of the hidden connection with the Ainu woman who is accompanying Sugimoto on his quest for the gold.

This is a book for adults who want something more than just the average high school hero story.  This is a dark and gritty piece of work that will take readers on a very tense, high stakes journey in the wilderness.  I have absolutely no clue what is coming in the future for this series but I do know that I want to come along for the ride.

-- L.B. Bryant