Francisca Goldsmith (Booklist, Dec. 1, 2000 (Vol. 97, No. 7)) In this first volume of a new fantasy series from Japanese manga artist Asamiya (Silent Mobius), readers witness the physical, spiritual, and moral journey of the young swordsman Dark. Through bleak and tumultuous landscapes and weather, Dark struggles from the past into the future, aided by companions even more ethereal and supernatural than he is. The gray-washed pencil illustrations amplify the otherworldly aspects of Dark's occupation, and Dark's androgynous features, typical of manga heroes, offer an alternative to American-bred superheroes. The story brings to the fore a number of serious issues--perfection, cooperation, humility, and submission--and footnotes will help readers lacking sufficient cultural context to understand the phrases and symbolism. Both graphic novel enthusiasts and fantasy adventure readers will enjoy this and eagerly await the next volume. Category: Books for Older Readers--Fiction. 2000, CPM Comics, $15.95. Gr. 8-12.