Fullmetal Alchemist, Vol. 1

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From Publishers Weekly This manga inspired the popular series now airing on the Cartoon Network and captures the show's brand of mystical, action-packed adventure. Set in a steam-powered locale that isn't necessarily in our world, the series follows two teenage brothers, Edward and Alphonse Elric—one bearing two cybernetic replacement limbs while the other's soul animates a cumbersome suit of armor. The two are government agents wielding prodigious abilities in alchemy who carry out the hazardous assignments issued by their handlers. Their exploits range from thwarting the machinations of a fraudulent and ambitious priest who abuses the faith of his oblivious flock to cunningly extracting an impoverished mining community from the exorbitant clutches of a corrupt official and dealing with a train-hijack situation that owes a serious debt to the film Under Siege. In a market glutted with too many like-minded efforts, Arakawa's work grabs readers and shakes them with simple yet eloquent visuals and a bizarre concept. To give away more would ruin the story, but the snippets of the brothers' origin hint at much darker things to come, and such portents herald fun in upcoming installments. (May) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Read more About the Author Born in Hokkaido (northern Japan), Hiromu Arakawa first attracted national attention in 1999 with her award-winning manga Stray Dog. Her series Fullmetal Alchemist debuted in 2001 in Square Enix's monthly manga anthology Shonen Gangan. Read more