Gimmick! Vol. 1

by Youzaburou Kanari and Karuko Yabuguchi

Publisher: Viz

Format: Softcover, 5x7, black & white, $9.99

ISBN: 978-1-4215-1778-0

Reviewed by: Publishers Weekly

Kohei is a special effects genius who uses makeup skills to solve others' problems. He's a terrific, relatable character, especially for the teen male reader. He's cool, he's attractive, he's talented, he's supremely aware of his awesome abilities... but he also goes goo-goo around the actress he has a crush on. His first mission is to protect her from her creepy manager, in an ever-escalating series of double crosses. The makeup process is presented by the authors as intense, with all the importance of a major operation. Later, Kohei and his stuntman partner try to prevent a violent attack on a monster theme park by a vengeful former employee and cover up scars for nude scenes. The book is full of dramatic adventure punctuated with comedy exaggeration (and the occasional breast shot), but it's the high-stakes action that sticks with the reader. The art successfully conveys both the comedy and the life-changing risks. A series about visual trickery is perfect for comics, and this one's well-executed, with some thematic depth, information about effects work and shout-outs to the real-life greats.