Overall Rating: A+
Summary: A seinen science fiction/mystery series created by Naoki Urasawa, which follows Kenji Endō, who owns a liquor store and takes care of his infant niece. The story splits its time between the present day (which is 1999 in the story) and when Kenji was growing up with his friends in 1969.
In the present day, Kenji's friend Donkey has apparently committed suicide, but there is also a series of murders. Kenji believes all of it is tied to a strange symbol which he recognizes as being familiar, but cannot place. At the wake for his friend, he reunites with his childhood friends and they reminisce about growing up together and their "secret base". None of them can quite remember the strange symbol or its meaning, but all of them recognize it. What does the symbol mean, and what is its connection to the friends and the strange cult that is growing in popularity? Most importantly, who is "Friend" and what is their connection to Kenji and his friends?
I really can't recommend this one enough. I picked it up this weekend at Chapel Hill Comics' annual Monster Sale, because I had heard good things about it, and wanted to check it out. Now I'm trying to figure out when I can get back to Chapel Hill to buy the second volume (it's supposed to have come out today). The story and characters are well-developed and by the end of the first volume I am completely hooked. I can't wait to see where things go, and I imagine that once I'm done with the second volume I will be annoyed that the third (and final) volume doesn't come out until June.