Monster: Romance in Prague
When picking out scans to show off Naoki Urasawa's Monster, there are usually three criteria I use to judge which ones to show and which are best left discovered for someone reading the series:
1) How good was the scene? 2) How much does it spoil the plot? 3) How appropriate is it for scans_daily?
The next few scans definitely fail criterion number two. But I feel that I simply must post it, for reasons that shall become obvious by the end of the post.
Context: The action in the series has moved to Prague. With a change in scenery comes a change in law enforcement. Detective Jan Suk, who has been investigating a series of crimes involving the former Czech secret police and a mysterious free lance journalist (who will get his own post later, I promise). Along the way, he's befriended a mysterious woman at a bar, and their relationship is gradually getting closer, despite the fact that he doesn't even know her name...
Reads right to left.
Suk fills her in on the plot thus far. Our mystery woman is somewhat distraught over the way things have been going.
The mystery woman says her name is Anna. Then walks off waving and smiling, leaving Suk a little lovestruck.
It's at this point that we find out something about Anna.
You know, I had it spoilered for me that Johan was pretending to be a woman in Prague, and I was still sort of shocked when this reveal happened.
I think the best part about that last page is Johan's smile. It's just so...smug. It reminds me of when Joker has his big reveal in Dini's Detective run: "I gotcha. I gotcha GOOD."
There's also a fourth wall breaking element to the smile, almost. The way he gazes out of the page, it's as if his amusement isn't at Jan's trust in him, but our own shock at him being revealed like that. There are a couple of other times in the series where Urasawa uses a similar trick, having Johan gaze out at the reader. He typically uses it when Johan is being spied on and Johan has discovered the spy. It's a great way to put the reader in the character's shoes, having Johan stare out at them in the same way that the character caught spying is getting looked at.