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Attack on Titan Anthology

aotanthologyAttack on Titan Anthology
by Various Creators.
Kodansha Comics, 256 pgs
Rating: Older Teen (16 +)

Trying to explain what the Attack on Titan Anthology is can be surprisingly difficult. The short answer, is that it’s an anthology from Kodansha Comics featuring American comic creators telling stories inspired by and based upon Hajime Isayama’s hit franchise, Attack on Titan. That doesn’t quite do it justice though, nor does it really delve into the depth of talent among the roughly 30 creators who contributed stories to it. If that wasn’t enough, the stories run the gamut from comedy strips, to stories placing Isayama’s creation into new and different worlds, to stories set in the world Attack on Titan fans know and which sit neatly alongside the rest of the franchise. Suffice it to say, the Attack on Titan Anthology probably has something for anyone holding even a passing interest in the franchise.

Highpoints in this collection include “Attack on Attack on Titan” from Evan Dorkin and Sarah Dwyer. It’s a series of wonderfully satirical comic strips which skewer the franchise and is easily the funniest thing in the book and, probably, the best comedic handling based on the franchise to date. Another high point comes from Genevieve Valentine and David Lopez, “An Illustrated Guide to the Glorious Walled Cities.” Set in the years before the start of Isayama’s main series, it It’s less of a comic and more of a travelogue providing a glimpse into life, fashion and travel behind the walls, while also hinting at the darker secrets at the heart of the human civilization. It’s absolutely gorgeous with beautiful maps, location shots, sections about fashion trends, travel and more. It does so much to flesh out the world of Attack on Titan that it almost feels like it should be supplemental material found in the back of the original manga.

Some tales take the Titans out of their original setting, like Si Spurrier’s “Fee Fie Foh”, which sees the Titans relocated to a feudal England and explores the methods and means employed by the people to survive. It’s a beautifully illustrated story about survival and responsibility. Similarly, Scott Snyder’s “Under the Surface” sees the Titans thrown into a near future world on the brink of social and economic collapse, taking on the role of heralds of the end times. Even these aren’t all serious and brooding, as Sam Humphries’ “Attack on Playtime” uses the Titans to enact a schoolyard revenge fantasy in a contemporary elementary school setting.

Still other stories sit perfectly at home alongside the other Attack on Titan side stories and series. Stories like Rhianna Pratchett and Ben Applegate’s “Skies Above” explores the cost of suppressed technologies and knowledge by the royal family, while Asaf and Tomer’s Hanuka offer one of the more emotional and haunting stories with “Memory Maze,” a tale of one family’s loss and suffering at the hands of the Titans.

The wide variety of talents, styles, settings and stories on offer in Attack on Titan Anthology means that there’s almost guaranteed to be something for everyone. If you don’t like one story, wait a few pages and you might like the next one. It’s such a rare thing to see American creators working on a Japanese franchise, that it’s fascinating to see how they interpret the world or the roles of the Titans. It also shows how versatile the massive creatures are, something that’s touched upon in the introduction by the original Attack on Titan editor who mentions that Isayama had hoped to make the Titans and giants in general a popular monster. Well, if this anthology is anything to go by, it looks like he’s succeeding.

Attack on Titan Anthology will be available on Oct. 18th from Kodansha Comics. Review copy of Attack on Titan Anthology provided by the publisher.

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