Black Cat 3 by Kentaro Yabuki: B

blackcat3-125From the back cover:
Train Heartnet, also known as “Black Cat,” was an infamous assassin for a secret organization called Chronos… until he abandoned that cold-blooded existence to live life on his own terms as an easygoing bounty hunter. But is Train’s past as far behind him as he thinks?

Train receives a desperate plea for help from Karl, the mayor of Rubeck City and one of Chronos’s top brass, because a serial murderer with mysterious powers is terrorizing Karl’s town. Eve offers herself as bait to lure the killer out, but will she be caught in a deadly trap?!

Ugh, what a garish cover. That red background is actually supposed to be bricks, but you can’t tell from the image. At least the contents are more pleasant.

After nabbing a pair of jewel thieves—and experiencing a few flashbacks involving Saya, the woman who convinced him to give up the assassin’s life and become a sweeper instead—Train is contacted by his former boss from Chronos who needs help getting rid of a serial killer who’s terrorizing the town of which he is the mayor. The bounty will be enough to cover Train and Sven’s debts, so they eagerly accept.

It turns out that, through a bunch of silliness involving drinking a forbidden elixir that brings out one’s potential Taoist powers, an escaped convict boxer has achieved invincible strength thanks to Creed’s band of revolutionary minions. Because this is shonen manga, battle between Train and the boxer ensues. It’s not bad, but more interesting is the subsequent fight between a Chronos assassin and Creed’s people. I’m always a sucker for unusual fighting powers, which Creed’s folks definitely possess, and I also like how I ended up unexpectedly rooting for the Chronos guy. Hooray for shades of grey!

Also cool? Eve is sticking around and has ambitions of sweeperhood and we see Sven’s eye-related power for the first time. The latter causes me to make another mental tick mark in the tally of series involving eye exchanges. They’re surprisingly popular.

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