From the back cover:
The rebellion within the Soul Society grows as doubts spread about the death sentence of ex-Soul Reaper Rukia Kuchiki. Determined to save her, Rukia’s childhood friend Renji vows to cut down the captain of his own squad, unaware of the terrifying fate that awaits him.
The first five chapters of this volume comprise the awesome fight between Byakuya and Renji. I really love Byakuya—he’s so cold and remote. I’m sure this bit must’ve been so cool to watch animated.
The stuff pertaining to Rukia’s execution was also good, including some nasty manipulation by Ichimaru where he dangled a thread of hope in front of her and then yanked it away again. Less interesting was the fight between Zaraki and his two opponents. Yawn.
Ichigo and the other humans had a very minimal presence in this volume. Ichigo only appeared briefly in the middle of the battle between Byakuya and Renji, at a moment when his and Renji’s situations were analagous and were intercut for comparison. The others only showed up right at the end when Rukia’s execution was starting. Hopefully now that the big event is at hand, our heroes will reclaim the spotlight.