I just finished Vol 4 of Monster and I have to say I think this series gets better with each installment. Not just the entire volume but also with each chapter inside each volume. Usually for long stories like this one, you can tell when the creator is just phoning it in to hit a certain page count.* With a story as complex and layered as this one, I wouldn’t blame him if he took a shortcut or two. Instead of being lazy when he introduces minor characters, he fleshes them out and makes them more like people instead of plot devices who are there to move along the storyline of the main characters.**
The only problem I had with the story is that it has been a long time since I read Vol. 3 I forgot a few of the characters, namely Dieter and Heckel, but after a few pages even if I had forgot their details, I understood who they were and why Tenma was dealing with them.
I’m really looking forward to the next volume and highly recommend this series to anyone who wants to read a good manga that is non-science fiction/non-fantasy/non-yaoi/non-superpowered teenage highschool stuff.
* – As much as I liked Shamo, the random full pages of crows and rabbits were unnecessary. Very good looking but ultimately unnecessary. US comic artists do the same with that full page panel of the hero facing the ‘camera’ looking determined with gritted teeth and balled fists.
** – The weepy diner owner is a perfect example of this. He could have just been there to pick Nina up from the police station, but instead we get a rather interesting backstory for a character I’m not sure we will see again.