Attack on Titan, Vol. 8 + 9by Hajime IsayamaKodansha ComicsRating: Teen (16+)
A disastrous expedition beyond the wall has led to a terrifying discovery, Eren's not the only person capable of turning into a Titan! Now Levi, Eren and Mikasa must create a plan to trap and uncover the identity of the mysterious Female Titan. Just when things couldn't get anymore confusing or tense, word comes that the worst case scenario may have occurred, the Titans have breached the wall! Twists, turns, revelations and action all come courtesy of Hajmie Isayama in volumes 8 and 9 of his hit series, Attack on Titan!
There's so much going on in these volumes that it's actually a little hard to take it all in. Revelations abound, ranging from the identity of the Female Titan, the origins of the Wall, hints towards the true nature of the Titans, and more. Isayama does a fantastic job at throwing out twist after twist, maintaining a breakneck sense of pacing throughout both of these volumes. Just when you think you've got a handle on things, and that things are going to take a breather, Isayama tosses out another revelation or tantalizing hint at what's truly going on in the world of Attack on Titan. Throughout it all he manages to give us some wonderful and touching character moments, shining the spotlight on the supporting cast and dishing out some wonderful back stories on their lives. Sasha in particular gets a fantastic chapter that just makes her all the more likable, and one that contrasts with some rather horrific events which run parallel to it.
Visually Isayama's artwork continues to be a mixed bag. I feel as though he's getting better, as there are several scenes and panels where you'd expect his anatomy issues to be on full display, but they're oddly lacking. The quieter moments also seem to be handled a little bit better, with the characters not looking quite as stiff and awkward as they once did in the earlier volumes. I'm not sure if this is down to Isayama improving, gaining new assistants or what, but it's nice to see that there's some improvement. The action scenes continue to be where he excels, with the battle between Eren, his allies, and the Female Titan being one of the real highlight of these volumes. Meanwhile his titan designs continue to be horrifically nightmarish mockeries of humanity, with a few unexpected additions and twists thrown in just for good measure.
I've been enjoying Attack on Titan for a while now, and there's nothing in these two volumes that is going to change that. If anything the revelations and twists simply left me wanting more and wanting it now. The brief focus on Sasha also gave me hope for how Isayama handles the characters. Seems like there's nothing but good times ahead for Attack on Titan!
Attack on Titan, Vols. 8 + 9 are available now from Kodansha Comics.