Black Cat 15-17 by Kentaro Yabuki: B

The last time I reviewed Black Cat, I said, “There are six volumes left of this series, and if they’re comprised of a huge epic battle between the sweepers and Creed and his goons, I think I could be quite happy indeed.” Well, I was wrong. Oh, my prediction as to the contents of these volumes was correct, but I wouldn’t describe myself as “quite happy” with the results. Not outright displeased or anything, but perhaps a little weary after a few volumes of it.

When we left off, the members of the Sweepers Alliance had converged upon Creed’s island fortress. Train, Eve, and Sven are all separated from one another and each wind up temporarily partnered with a new character. These three volumes are chiefly combined of fights between our heroes and members of Creed’s group/movement, The Apostles of the Stars, that generally last three chapters or so and frequently end with the victorious good guy convincing the defeated bad guy that it’s possible to change their ways and embark upon a new life.

And that wouldn’t be bad—in fact, when Eve takes her turn giving the speech, it has special resonance because of her personal evolution from living weapon to protector of the innocent—but it just happens over and over and over. Also, some of the supposedly awesome new skills the fighters come up with, like River’s Sonic Fist and Train’s Black Claw, just look really lame.

The high point of these volumes is the demonstration of how much Eve has grown. She is far more confident as a fighter, for one thing, having been motivated to practice her skills because of Train’s example, and is impressively badass in her fight against The Apostles’ Leon. More than that, though, it’s as if she has begun to truly understand what being a sweeper and putting one’s life on the line for others really means. I love that her maturation is considered an important enough part of the story that Yabuki finds time to focus on it a bit even in the midst of chaos.

When I first sat down to read these few volumes, I thought, “Oh, I have the final three volumes of the series out from the library, too. Maybe I can just devour all six at once!” After finishing this group, though, I definitely needed a break. I hope the finale can change things up enough to be truly satisfying.

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