When Vertical marketing director Ed Chavez first announced that they had licensed the sci-fi manga Twin Spica, the news was drowned out by better-known titles like the cute cat manga Chi's Sweet Home and Felipe Smith's in-your-face Peepo Choo. Also, frankly, the cover of this manga is the least attractive thing about it.
When I got my advance copy, though, I was sold. Twin Spica is an interesting story that interweaves a girl's training to be an astronaut — classic shonen manga fodder, but approached more thoughtfully — with stories of her personal life and coming of age. Vertical has just posted a 30-page preview at their site, and the piece of the story they chose focuses on the main character, Asumi, coming to terms with her mother's death. Asumi's spirit really comes through in this story, but I actually liked the space training part even better. Anyway, go take a look, and watch out for the first volume next month. (I know the preview has an awful moire, but I don't recall that being in the printed book.)